Next Week/This Week: Il Mio Cuomo

Don't let the photo fool you: these guys aren't "friends" again yet.

Mayor Bill de Blasio with Gov. Andrew Cuomo last October. (Photo:  Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Mayor Bill de Blasio with Gov. Andrew Cuomo aren’t talking this much again…yet. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Spencer Platt/Getty Images


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1. LaGuardia Airport: Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Vice President Joseph Biden announced on Monday at a meeting of the Association for a Better New York a planned $4 billion overhaul of the 76-year-old Queens plane hub, a revamp that will raze the decrepit current four terminals and erect a new, unified transit center more than three times as large as the old one and connected to train and ferry service—bringing 18,000 new jobs. According to the governor, it will be the first airport built since 9/11. Perhaps best of all, half the cash for the development will come out of private investors’ pockets.

2. Assemblyman Charles Barron: The Black Panther-turned-councilman-turned-assemblyman revealed to the Observer on Tuesday he might like to take a turn in the Brooklyn State Senate seat recently vacated by John Sampson (see below). A thorn in the side of any authority figure, and especially in that of the Kings County Democratic establishment, the popular East New York pol even suggested he might run on an independent line if his party decides not to nominate him in the special election anticipated for November (it almost definitely won’t). No matter what happens, people are talking about Mr. Barron, so he’s bound to be happy.

3. Body camera advocates: A day after police in Cincinnati released incriminating video from the body camera worn by a police officer now under indictment for murdering a black motorist, a joint report by the Department of Investigations and the NYPD Inspector General called for cops to use the recording devices during all street encounters with civilians. Following a trial program with 54 of the cameras, DOI Commissioner Mark Peters and IG Philip Eure also recommended that the city retain the footage for a full 18 months after each use, rather than the year-long period originally proposed. So we might soon all be watching the watchmen a little bit closer.


1. LaGuardia Airport: Let’s face it, what the governor and vice president basically announced was that the old airport was so far gone the only choice was to take it out back and shoot it in the head and then buy the kids a new one. “It is slow, it is dated, it has a terrible front entrance way to NY, it is a lost opportunity. It is almost universally decried as a poor representation of a New York airport,” Mr. Cuomo said, insisting “we need to tear it down.” But at least Mr. Biden won’t have to feel like he’s “in a Third World country” again…unless, you know, he’s actually in one.

2. NJ Transit riders: Not only did commuters and Amtrak riders find themselves repeatedly caught between New York and New Jersey again due to delays, they also would up strung out between three towering egos: Mr. Cuomo, Garden State Gov. Chris Christie and Mayor Bill de Blasio" class="company-link">Bill de Blasio. Mr. Christie, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, killed a plan to build a new tunnel between his state and New York in 2010, asserting that the proposal unfairly left taxpayers on the west side of the Hudson footing the bill. He promised would get the get the plan, called the Access to the Region’s Core, properly funded once voters put him in the White House. New York’s governor, on the other hand, would only call for accelerating repairs on the two tubes shuttling people under the river—not good enough for Mr. de Blasio, who has considerably less say in the matter but told the Observer on Thursday “we need another cross-Hudson tunnel, period.”

3. Former State Senator John Sampson: The former Brooklyn representative was found guilty of three felony corruption charges, including lying to federal agents and threatening to “take out” witnesses who might testify against him in an embezzlement probe. Besides having to abdicate the office he held for 18 years and face as much as two decades in prison, the Kings County machine loyalist may have delivered his seat into the hands of the contrarian Mr. Barron.


The latest chapter in the continuing sibling-esque squabbling of Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio. The mayor, ever the embittered little brother, didn’t accept an invitation to appear with the governor and vice president at the LaGuardia announcement, saying he only goes to ABNY events when asked to speak. He made nice with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at an IDNYC even that day, patching a fissure that appeared over a proposed cap on Uber cars the week before—but insisted his split with Mr. Cuomo is as open and wide as the day last month when he accused the governor of going on a vengeful “vendetta” against anyone he perceived as a rival.

He did reveal on Wednesday that he and the governor were talking again, having an “airing of concerns” over the phone, but added he “wouldn’t say a resolution was reached” and that “this is going to be an ongoing thing.” And sure enough, on Thursday, the two were on opposite sides of the cross-Hudson tunnel issue again—particularly on whether they though Mr. Christie had made a mistake in scuttling the ARC tunnel.


Reporters will continue to pepper both men with questions about the status of their frayed relationship. Both will continue to give vague and evasive answers. The test will be when Mr. de Blasio decides he wants something from Albany, or takes a stand on an issue, or decides to skip town again for some speaking event—will the governor seize the opportunity to undermine and embarrass him again? One particular area to watch: the MTA capital budget, with Mr. Cuomo making a big ask of the city—$3.2 billion over 5 years—and insisting the MTA isn’t really a state agency. Mr. de Blasio, meanwhile, has insisted he’ll need more information, including where the state’s going to get the more than $8 billion Mr. Cuomo has said he’ll contribute, before agreeing to fork over the city cash.


Queens State Senator Jose Peralta was apparently taking a nap while the rest of the city’s electeds were pumping out press releases Monday applauding the new plans for LaGuardia Airport, which sits in his district. The senator’s hurrah didn’t come til nearly noon on Tuesday.


Mr. Cuomo decides there is “reason for alarm” over the outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease in the South Bronx and decides to shut down all train and airplane service in and out of the city—without notifying Mr. de Blasio.


In the midst of midsummer news doldrums and with temperatures expected to enter the 90s again, Mr. de Blasio will probably hold another press conference to remind everybody that summer is hot—but city buildings are always 78 degrees.

Next Week/This Week: Il Mio Cuomo