Andrew Cuomo’s Resignation and the Real Meaning of “New York Tough”

Amy Sorkin in The New Yorker:

It was embarrassingly obvious that Governor Andrew Cuomo wanted the address, on Tuesday, in which he announced his resignation, in the face of allegations of sexual harassment, to stir up memories of his pandemic press conferences. Within a sentence or so, he was talking about “New York tough,” and he used the phrase—a rallying cry in the days when ambulance sirens were the signature sound of New York City—as the organizing rhetorical device for his speech. But it’s worth suggesting a different point of reference. Compare the image of Cuomo now with that of the Governor almost three years ago, on September 7, 2018, at the “grand opening” of a replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge, which he had managed to rename the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, after his father. To celebrate, he drove across the new span with one of his daughters, Cara, and his then partner, Sandra Lee, in a 1932 Packard convertible that had belonged to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been the governor of New York before he became President.

Did Cuomo hope that he might follow in F.D.R.’s path? Almost certainly. Did the state pay more than ten thousand dollars to make F.D.R.’s Packard roadworthy so that the Governor could drive it on ceremonial occasions? It did. Did Cuomo also hope that people might eventually just start calling the bridge the Cuomo Bridge, and be surprised to learn that it was named for Mario, rather than Andrew? Possibly, unless he had a vision of the Manhattan or Brooklyn Bridge renamed for him. Does Cuomo have an issue with his father’s legacy that he seems to play out through political games in which he must be the center?

More here.