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De Blasio Conspicuously Absent from Cuomo's LaGuardia Announcement

By Jeff Mays | July 28, 2015 4:04pm
 Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a press conference to discuss Brooklyn hospitals on Jan. 27, 2014. De Blasio did not attend a Cuomo announcement of plan to rebuild LaGuardia Airport on July 27, 2015.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a press conference to discuss Brooklyn hospitals on Jan. 27, 2014. De Blasio did not attend a Cuomo announcement of plan to rebuild LaGuardia Airport on July 27, 2015.
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Mayors Office

MIDTOWN — Bill Rudin, head of the Association for a Better New York, read a list of elected officials who had come to the Sheraton Monday to hear Vice President Joseph Biden and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announce a $4 billion redo of LaGuardia Airport.

It included everyone from Reps. Joe Crowley, Carolyn Maloney and Sean Patrick Maloney to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Tisch James and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Conspicuously absent: Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Hours after de Blasio and Mark-Viverito patched up their public rift, the mayor's split with the governor was on full display as Cuomo didn't even mention de Blasio during the announcement.

Asked about the LaGuardia plan at a separate press conference hours before the governor's event, de Blasio said he didn't know the specifics of the $4 billion plan to rebuild the airport's central terminal as well as to connect it to an airtrain and a high-speed ferry.

"I think, from what I’ve heard of the announcement – I don’t have all the details, but certainly the part about trying to rejuvenate the terminals at our airports – something I think is wonderful – and I put out a statement praising the governor and the vice president for that," de Blasio said.

Asked why he wasn't attending the event, de Blasio said: "My understanding is that they’re doing it in the context of an ABNY event, and, you know, that’s the kind of event that I go to when I’m speaking, but not obviously as an attendee. But it – from that – what I know of it so far, I’m impressed by the announcement."

A spokeswoman from ABNY did not respond to requests for comment about whether the mayor had been invited to the event. Asked if he wasn't going to the announcement because he wasn't invited, de Blasio said no.

Jeanne Zaino, a professor of political science at Iona College, said it was "absolutely odd" that de Blasio was not at an announcement of such importance.

"He was just at an event with the council speaker, and the vice president of the United States was there along with many other city officials," said Zaino. "It's indicative of just how intense [Cuomo's and de Blasio's] relationship has become."

The two men have had a very public feud over policy and style that culminated with de Blasio saying that Cuomo was a vindictive politician who sabotaged the city's legislative agenda in Albany this year.

Cuomo said de Blasio didn't understand how Albany works and has continued to publicly contradict the mayor on various issues.

Last week, for example, Cuomo sided against de Blasio and with Uber, which was fighting a city plan to cap the growth of for-hire vehicles.

De Blasio and Mark-Viverito also clashed over Uber last week, but were back on friendly terms by Monday. They laughed and joked during the event at the American Museum of Natural History Monday as if nothing had happened.

"It's what you would expect from two officials in the same party," said Zaino. "Even if they don't get along they would come together and put on a brave face."

But de Blasio acknowledged that his brief public rift with Mark-Viverito is nothing like the ongoing feud with Cuomo.

"Have you heard of the concept of apples and oranges?" the mayor said when asked to contrast the two situations.