Kathy Hochul’s First Day as New York Governor
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Weather: Sunny today with a high near 93. Skies tonight will remain clear with temperatures dipping into the mid-70s.
Alternate-side parking: In effect until Sept. 6 (Labor Day).
Credit…Cindy Schultz for The New York Times
Kathleen C. Hochul became the first woman to ascend to New York’s highest office on Tuesday, vowing to steer the state through a still-surging pandemic and economic uncertainty, while ushering in a new era of civility and consensus in government.
In her first address as the state’s 57th governor, Ms. Hochul portrayed herself as an executive leader who has been grounded by her upbringing in Buffalo, and influenced by her interactions with New Yorkers affected by a weakened economy, the opioid crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve been in the trenches with local health leaders and officials battling the pandemic day after day after day,” she said. “Your priorities are my priorities, and right now, that means fighting the Delta variant.”
Her ascension capped a whirlwind chain of events that followed a series of sexual harassment allegations made against the outgoing governor, Andrew M. Cuomo.
[Read more about Governor Hochul’s first day in office from my colleague Luis Ferré-Sadurní.]
The immediate issues
Ms. Hochul faces a range of pressing issues, from working with lawmakers to strengthen an eviction moratorium that expires later this month to deciding whom to retain from Mr. Cuomo’s cabinet. She is still recruiting her top staff and will announce her selection for lieutenant governor later this week.
[Read more about the challenges Governor Hochul inherited.]
Ms. Hochul will have to act decisively to curb the rapid spread of the coronavirus Delta variant, and restore trust among public health experts, especially at the state Health Department, where some senior executives felt betrayed by the Cuomo administration’s attempt to downplay the number of nursing home deaths during the pandemic.
How she rose to the top
In her 14-year trajectory from county clerk to congresswoman to the upper echelons of state government, Ms. Hochul has stood out for her affable personality, deftness in retail politicking and demanding travel schedule: She has made a point of visiting each of New York’s 62 counties. Yet she is mostly an unknown quantity to most New Yorkers, a fact she acknowledged during her address.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and many members of the State Legislature have welcomed Ms. Hochul’s rise with a sigh of relief after years of feuding with Mr. Cuomo, whose ruthless and overbearing governing style led many members of his party to work with him out of intimidation, rather than good will.
Ms. Hochul has said that she will run for a full term as governor next year.
From The Times
Hochul says she’ll order a school mask mandate in New York and push for teachers to face vaccine rules.
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Want more news? Check out our full coverage.
The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.
What we’re reading
New York has surpassed San Francisco as the country’s most expensive rental market, according to a new real estate report. [Gothamist]
Starting today, people can buy tickets to ride the Times Square Wheel, a 110-foot-tall Ferris wheel that appeared near Duffy Square on Tuesday. [NBC New York]
More than 100,000 New Yorkers have been vaccinated since the city started offering $100 incentives last month for those who received their first dose at city-run sites, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced. [New York Post]
And finally: The Metropolitan Opera reaches a long-fought deal with its orchestra
The Times’ Julia Jacobs writes:
The Metropolitan Opera has struck a labor deal with its orchestra, officials announced Tuesday, paving the way for its musicians to return to work and for the company, the largest performing arts organization in the nation, to resume performances next month after being shut down for more than a year by the pandemic.
After months of uncertainty, and talks that grew contentious at times, the Met said that the players had ratified a labor deal reached with the union representing the orchestra, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians. The musicians were scheduled to return to work on Monday for their first official rehearsal since the pandemic closed the opera house in March 2020.
The agreement concludes several months of tension over how significant future pay cuts would be for musicians, who went for nearly a year without pay during the pandemic.
“The members of the Met’s great orchestra have been through herculean challenges during the 16 months of the shutdown, as we struggled to keep the company intact,” Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, said in a statement. “Now, we look forward to rebuilding and returning to action.”
The group was the last of the three major Met unions to come to an agreement; without a deal on a new contract for the orchestra, the Met would have likely had to postpone its reopening. Several smaller unions have yet to reach deals.
In a joint statement, Adam Krauthamer, the president of Local 802, and the members of the Met’s orchestra committee said that they were “thrilled to be returning to regular performances very soon, and look forward to reconnecting with our audiences.”
It’s Wednesday — let the show go on.
Metropolitan Diary: Living without
“I’m just so tired of my body failing me in different ways,” I heard a woman behind me say as I was crossing a street in Morningside Heights.
“You should just do what my grandma did,” her male companion replied. “Just remove your spleen.”
The woman gasped.
“You can do that?” she said. “Just live without a spleen?”
“Yeah, I mean, she’s doing it,” the man said as we reached the other side of the street.
“Well, then, get it out of me!” the woman said as they walked off up Broadway.
— John Finnegan
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Read more Metropolitan Diary here.
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