New York City, NY

After Almost a Decade, Cuomo and de Blasio Still Compete for Power

Genius Turner
Cuomo and de Blasio pictured together on Memorial Day in 2014.(Diana Robinson/Flickr)

After all these years: the Governor and Mayor still jockey for power

New York City — "Time for the Mayor and the Governor to work together," Ben Max wrote a few years ago. ". . . They barely speak to each other and won't even say each other's name in public."

Ah, there's an old saying that "time heals all wounds," but in this instance — it appears de Blasio and Cuomo need a bit more time. Perhaps Mary Brosnahan was onto something when she called them "both very smart people, let's just lower the testosterone and ramp up the cooperation."

Perhaps what the NY Times once dubbed "America's ugliest political feuds: Cuomo vs. de Blasio" isn't a "feud" per se. Rather, this tug of war merely reflects the job descriptions. This is business, nothing personal.

Whereas in every other region of the nation the governor of a state takes priority over the mayor of a city, not in the Big Apple. No, no. After all, outside of NY — few knew the name, Governor Pataki. Mayor Giuliani, however, was a celebrity.

To put it simply: whenever a mayor runs New York City, which has been "described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world," clearly this distorts the normal balance of political power.

De Blasio knows this. Cuomo knows this, too.
For almost a decade, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have quietly jostled for "King of NY" status.(Schreibwerkzeug/Wikimedia Commons)

Back in 2015, Cuomo shut down the subways during a snowstorm without first alerting de Blasio. The mayor, in turn, didn't feel the need to give the governor's office a heads-up on plans to redevelop a rail yard in Queens. The feud has escalated ever since.

Once again, the mayor and the governor seem to be back at it.

A few weeks ago, the mayor made a big announcement. “We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters, full strength,” de Blasio revealed on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The mayor then gave an official date for reopening the Big Apple, July 1.

The governor, however, wasted no time in pouncing on the mayor. “I don’t want to wait that long," Cuomo said of de Blasio's targeted July 1 date. "I think if we do what we have to do we can reopen earlier!”

Ah, the more things change, the more they stay the same! Cuomo never misses the golden opportunity to remind his longtime rival why the position of governor, technically, makes him the "higher man on the totem pole," despite the prestige a New York City Mayor title carries.

"Cuomo, de Blasio’s refusal to adopt new CDC mask guidance sparks confusion," read the NY Post's incredible headline. Of course, the headline just as well had added — "Cuomo, de Blasio's refusal" to agree on just about any policy change, for that matter.

This back in forth is somewhat reminiscent of when de Blasio complained, "If someone disagrees with him [Cuomo] openly, some kind of revenge or vendetta follows.” Perhaps this explains why chances are de Blasio will avoid "disagreeing with him openly."

Cuomo, however, wasn't finished barking in the mayor's direction:

I think they're irresponsible. July 1 — you have May, June, what happens in May, what happens in June? I'd like to get the hopeful reopening date before that. I don't want to wait that long. I think if we do what we have to do we can reopen earlier.

In short, minor political bickering aside, New Yorkers are thrilled to see the city has reopened earlier than expected.

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