New York City is back

new york city central park
As seen here in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow, the spirit of NYC is alive and well.

  • New York City is back.
  • America’s biggest city is recovering as New Yorkers return and its economy reopens.
  • It’s not the same as pre-pandemic NYC, but it’s the beginning of the city’s next chapter.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

I knew New York City was back when I found myself dancing on top of a booth in an East Village bar last weekend.

The night began with dinner out and ended with another bargoer’s drink on my shoe, eating pizza on the street, and an invitation from a six-pack-wielding stranger for my friends and I to drink beer and play “Mario Kart” at his apartment.

That is all to say: It was a normal Saturday night in NYC, one event in a weekend that felt very much like the Before Times. I also worked in the Insider office for the first time that Friday and hit the gym on Sunday.

Pfizer made all these adventures possible, and it seems that the vaccines are having the same effect on New Yorkers across the city.

For the past month, I’ve noticed the magical – and exhausting – things that make New York New York coming to life again: a stalled 1 train, a crowded 6 train, getting turned down by a full cab, tourists getting in my way of shopping on Fifth Avenue, trying four newly opened restaurants, the throngs of sunbathers and picnickers in Central Park, and the familiar murmurs of gossip and chatter over wine glasses on a rooftop. It’s not just a feeling: New York City’s economy is genuinely healing.

It’s also a far cry from a year ago, when New York became the center of the coronavirus in the US and everything that once lit up New York – the distant squares of office windows, taxi-cab lights, and Times Square – dimmed.

Even today, traces of pandemic NYC remain. My Saturday bar closed at midnight, and it took about four attempts to grab a late-night bite to eat at a restaurant not closing by 11 p.m. on Friday night, an insult in the city that never sleeps.

But the return of New Yorkers, lockdown lifting, and a financial boost have revived the city’s energy. NYC as we once knew it is gone, but the big city is back.

New Yorkers can’t stay away

NYC’s obituary was written countless times in 2020, prompted by shuttering businesses and the wealthy fleeing to upstate for more space or to the palm trees down south.

But the city “was just taking a nap,” Bella, a 28-year-old transplant New Yorker, told me. She joked she knew it was back after recently being catcalled by a gang of bicyclers.

Read more: Florida isn’t replacing New York after all

The data agrees with Bella’s diagnosis. The supposed mass exodus out of the city wasn’t so massive, according to recent data from USPS. According to Bloomberg, more Manhattanites moved to Brooklyn than anywhere else between March 2020 and February – 20,000 of them, compared with 19,000 Manhattanites who moved to Florida, 10,000 of whom plan to stay permanently. They’ll probably be back.

NYC also remains home to 7,743 ultra-high-net-worth individuals – more than any other city in the world, according to a Knight Frank and Douglas Elliman report from March. Mansion Global said the number of outward migrants from the NYC metro area ticked upward from 2019 to 2020 – a loss of 6.6 per 1,000 residents grew to 10.9 – but those who left for the suburbs were already returning.

Washington Square PArk NYC
New Yorkers hanging out in Washington Square Park.

City real estate, once plummeting, is rebounding. New Yorkers are upgrading to wealthier neighborhoods and fancier apartments, while there’s evidence that overseas buyers are starting to drive sales again, as are young professionals looking to buy for the first time. The number of sales in Manhattan increased by 28.7% from the last three months of 2020 to the first three of 2021, according to a Douglas Elliman report.

Brooklyn’s real-estate market is recovering the fastest, and the borough has become so popular, it now costs nearly as much to live there as it does in Manhattan, The New York Times reported.

“Whoever wrote off New York was wrong,” Kenneth Horn, the founder of Alchemy Properties, told Mansion Global. “This, of course, has been horrible. We’ve lived through a lot different, right. But people want to live in New York. People love the vibrancy.”

Late-night bars and subways

NYC hasn’t even reached its peak return of residents, but it already feels alive. A recent Bank of America Research note, from a team led by Head of US Economics Michelle Meyer, said this month would spark a dominolike return to the city, ultimately proving the mass exodus narrative was more myth than reality.

By the end of May, restrictions lifted include: most industry capacity limits, the limit on residential outdoor gatherings, the mask mandate for vaccinated people, and the midnight outdoor- and indoor-dining-area curfew for bars and restaurants.

Read more: The urban exodus out of New York City and San Francisco is more myth than reality

As a city dweller, I no longer have to order food with my Moscow mule, and I can resume my love-hate relationship with the subway again 24/7. I can book a ticket for Broadway in September, listen to crowds roar during a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, and start checking out library books.

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York wrote in a Tweet announcing some of these reopenings earlier this month, “NY is coming back!”

new york city subway
The subway is resuming its 24/7 service.

Now, while the state of New York officially reopened in May, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that he’s eyeing a full reopening for the city on July 1 and plans to eliminate remote learning come fall. But the Legislature unwinding many of the lifts has made it feel like city is already back in action.

Offices, too, have jumped on the reopening spree. Wall Street is preparing for its summer return in a matter of weeks, with both Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs asking their employees to come back to the office starting mid-June. Over in tech, Facebook is gearing up to bring its employees back to its New York City offices.

“I haven’t had hope for any return to actual normalcy until now, seeing people both indoor and outdoors without masks, and it’s really starting to hit me that this wasn’t actually going to be forever,” Kelsey Peter, a 27-year-old nonprofit worker who stayed in NYC when the pandemic hit, told Insider.

Cash is flowing

The boomerang migration, uptick in real estate, and economic reopening are all helping cash flow again in a city made of money.

Card spending was up by 38% in the NYC metro area compared with the previous year and 17% compared with two years ago for the week ending May 22, according to BofA Research.

Spending on brick-and-mortar retail in NYC by local households hovered around 70% by the end of 2020, as compared to a 74% pre-pandemic trend, indicating a minimal drop from outmigration, BofA also found, while in-person spending on restaurants has improved. As of mid-April, it was still down 30% compared with two years ago but a major improvement from the 70% drop at the end of January.

NYC’s finances are also in better shape than expected. While the state’s tax revenue collected over the past fiscal year was $513.3 million lower than the previous year, the state was fearing a $3 billion bigger drop, New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli told Bloomberg, and a large chunk of that came from the city.

times square new york city
Crowds are back in Times Square.

And President Joe Biden’s stimulus package included $5.6 billion for NYC, which Insider’s Juliana Kaplan reported likely saved catastrophic cuts to the city budget. This sentiment was largely confirmed at a City Council hearing in March, when Department of Finance Commissioner Sherif Soliman said this federal aid had given the city a “shot in the arm” financially and his office was optimistic for a “full recovery.”

At the end of April, de Blasio announced a $98.6 billion budget, $10 billion higher than previously planned, to help jump-start the city’s recovery. “These investments are about bringing the city back, and they just can’t wait,” he said in a press briefing, according to the New York Daily News. “Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.”

Read more: Millionaire New Yorkers are now set to pay the highest taxes in the country

However, long-term budget challenges still loom. Some experts have said there’s no guarantee NYC will be able to continue funding de Blasio’s budget, calling on him to do more.

But NYC is also set to get another injection of money beginning next year, now that Cuomo has finalized a budget that would have millionaire New Yorkers pay 13.5% to 14.8% in local and state taxes – the highest taxes in the country.

NYC’s next chapter

To say NYC 2021 resembles NYC 2019 would be inaccurate. Several aspects of the city still aren’t quite “normal.”

Tourism may not fully recover until 2025, plenty of the wealthy did permanently move or have yet to return, and central business districts like midtown aren’t their typical bustling selves. The amount of Manhattan office space available is the highest it’s been in 30 years, and rents also haven’t reached their pre-pandemic norms, signaling that NYC’s population still isn’t what it was. Urban areas stand to see an estimated 10% drop in spending from an economy where more workers are remote – and even more in cities like New York.

The city’s vaccination rollout could also pose a challenge to the progress made so far. While nearly 61% of NYC adults have at least one dose of the vaccine, that still leaves about 39% who aren’t vaccinated. Vaccination rates are slowing across the state as a whole, leading de Blasio to offer weekly incentives for getting vaccinated.

The contagious coronavirus variant spreading throughout India and other parts of Asia may also bring with it a risk of some form of lockdown returning later this year. On Thursday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the country’s full reopening could be delayed because of the variant, despite a successful vaccination campaign similar to America’s.

baby brasa's nyc
Brunch at Baby Brasa reviving that NYC energy.

And while NYC is never going to return to its 2019 economy, just as America itself won’t, that doesn’t mean that the city has lost its luster. Much like it did after the Great Depression and 9/11, NYC is entering the next chapter of its life – and that’s starting now, in line with the race for a new mayor come November.

BofA noted potential for some recovery in the near term, as NYC remains a “premier city for young renters given status as economic, financial, and cultural centers.” The pullback in rents, it said, has also helped make NYC living more affordable and enticing for young professionals.

Read more: It’s starting to look like New York City will be just fine

As the city was once America’s coronavirus center, NYC’s reopening serves as a metaphor for the country’s pandemic progress. It’s also revived the city’s intangible energy.

For some, this part of NYC never died. Even when the city felt empty, Peter said, there were so many people looking out for each other.

“You would get used to seeing the same vendor’s face at the wine store or at the coffee shop when you’re getting to-go,” she added. “That was all during the worst of it, and things only got better from there. It was always a community.”

As someone who also rode out the pandemic out in Manhattan, I agree with Peter. My local bodega owner, the friendly parking-garage attendant on my street, and a fellow parkgoer and his five poodles became the faces I’d typically see during my pandemic routine. With endless options to experience the city again, I’m back to encountering strangers and forgotten faces on the regular, from my waiter at Lil’ Frankie’s to my hairstylist and colorist, so much so that it’s getting somewhat exhausting.

That can mean only one thing: New York is back.

Read the original article on Business Insider

New York will end its curfew for bars and restaurants in May

New York outdoor dining
People dine at an outdoor Soho restaurant on March 21, 2021 in New York City.

  • New York will lift its midnight curfew on bars and restaurants next month.
  • The curfew will first be lifted on May 17 for outdoor eating and drinking.
  • It will be lifted for indoor restaurants and bars on May 31, Cuomo said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the mandatory midnight closing time for bars and restaurants in the state will be lifted next month.

Cuomo, who ordered the curfews last year to curb the spread of COVID-19, said Wednesday the curfew for outdoor restaurants and bars will end on May 17. The curfew will end for indoor bars and restaurants on May 31. The curfew on catered events will also be lifted at the end of May.

Seating in bars in New York City will resume on May 3, the governor’s office announced.

Cuomo’s announcement came as the New York State legislature is slated to roll back Cuomo’s requirement that patrons of bars and restaurants order a food item if they are ordering an alcoholic beverage. That rule has been in place since July last year, The New York Times noted.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The timing of Andrew Cuomo’s decision to legalize weed seems like a distraction

andrew cuomo leak
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation that legalizes adult-use marijuana.
  • The decision comes amid multiple investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct and his handling of the pandemic.
  • For years, Cuomo has been opposed to the legalization of weed, making the timing of this law seem a bit fishy.
  • Jana Cholakovska is an NYC-based freelance reporter and editor covering politics, climate change, and labor.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Two weeks ago, amid a deluge of calls for his resignation and multiple investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally signed legislation to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in the state. For a man who has spent the majority of his career reluctant to greenlight any weed-related laws the decision is at best opportune and at worst a ploy designed to distract New Yorkers from the firestorm of the past few months.

Cuomo’s powerful grip on New York has been steadily slipping over the last few months. In December, Lindsey Boylan – a former aide and current Democratic candidate for Manhattan Borough President – publicly accused the governor of sexual harassment describing an environment where sexual harassment and bullying were not only “condoned but expected.” Boylan’s accusation opened the floodgates: eight other women have since come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, including one anonymous aide who says that Cuomo “aggressively groped” her in the Executive Mansion last year.

That is not all that has come to light. There is also the Cuomo administration’s disastrous handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes, preferential treatment of the governor’s family in getting coronavirus tests early in the pandemic, possible political pressure on vaccine distribution, and a controversial $4 million book deal.

Now, almost a month after Cuomo denied wrongdoing in every case, derided calls for his resignation as “cancel culture,” and said that he will simply continue doing his job, it seems that the governor is attempting to salvage his tarnished reputation ahead of the 2022 gubernatorial election when he is likely to run for his fourth term as governor. He has retreated into a state of political survival, providing legislators with leverage to pass one of the most progressive weed laws in the country.

Cuomo has never been the staunchest supporter of cannabis

In 2010, a week before winning his first election as governor, Cuomo came out against medical marijuana saying that its dangers “outweigh the benefits.” It took him four years to reverse his position and agree to sign a bill that made marijuana available, but only at a limited number of dispensaries to patients with conditions like cancer and glaucoma. Any smokable forms of marijuana were still banned though. It seems that his opinion of pot, however, hadn’t really changed. In 2017, he even called marijuana a “gateway drug,” warning those who partake.

“If you choose to use marijuana recreationally, you know the law,” he said.

Then the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary came along and Cynthia Nixon burst onto the political stage, running a campaign that made legalizing recreational marijuana one of its policy pillars, framing it as a necessary step towards addressing racial inequalities in the criminal justice system. Within a few weeks both the New York Democratic Party and the State Department of Health voiced their support of recreational marijuana. The tide was turning and Cuomo was struggling to find the current.

Nixon was by no means the first one to advocate for this kind of policy. For years, lawmakers and activists like Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Drug Policy Alliance’s Executive Director Kassandra Frederique have pursued marijuana legalization as a way to even out the playing field for Black, Latino, Indigenous, and immigrant communities which have been unfairly targeted by law enforcement and disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs. But, it wasn’t until Nixon directly threatened Cuomo’s plans for a third term in office that his messaging took a sharp turn. In August of 2018, he launched a workgroup tasked to draft legislation for regulated recreational marijuana. And only after he was reelected as governor in December he came out in full support of legalization.

“Let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all,” he said.

Much like in 2018, the current political moment has acted as a catalyst, pushing cannabis higher on Cuomo’s policy priority. After the two failed deals to legalize weed in 2019 and 2020, lawmakers were finally able to negotiate a deal similar to the previous bills without much meddling from the governor – the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. Under the current deal, 40% of most tax revenues would be invested in communities most harmed by the drug war, another 40% would go into public education, and the remaining 20% would be invested in drug treatment and prevention.

One cannot help but wonder if the governor would have signed such a progressive deal if it were not for the revelations of the last few months. While his attempt to reframe the narrative of his tenure, only time will tell if Cuomo’s efforts were enough to convince New Yorkers for four more years under his leadership.

Jana Cholakovska is an NYC-based freelance reporter and editor covering politics, climate change, and labor. You can find her on Twitter @JCholakovska or send her tips via email at

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How NY Gov. Cuomo’s ‘apologies’ fail to recognize that power imbalances are at the root of sexual harassment

andrew cuomo
New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

  • Andrew Cuomo has issued denials, defenses, and apologies in response to misconduct accusations.
  • His “I never intended” responses miss the point – that power is at the heart of sexual harassment.
  • Ending sexual harassment will require a critical rethinking of the distribution of workplace power.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In recent weeks, multiple women have reported demeaning and sexualized workplace behavior by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In response, Cuomo has issued a combination of denials, defenses, and apologies.

Much of the public analysis of his statements has focused on the adequacy of these apologies – whether he took sufficient responsibility or expressed sufficient remorse.

Apologies deserve attention. They can help right wrongs and heal relationships.

Yet in the focus on apologies, an opportunity is missed to learn something about power. Power, after all, is at the heart of sexual harassment.

‘Unwanted imposition’

As Catharine MacKinnon, the architect of modern sexual harassment law, has argued, sexual misconduct at work can be defined as “the unwanted imposition of sexual requirements in the context of a relationship of unequal power.”

If responses like Cuomo’s are viewed through a power-informed lens, different patterns emerge. In my own study of over 200 such statements, I found many references to the accused’s own long careers, to their many professional accomplishments, and to their excellent reputations. In short, when challenged, the men in my study (and all but three were men) did what came naturally: They reached for their power.

This pattern is connected to another theme that I discovered in the statements I studied: repetition of explanations and defenses centered on the accused person’s own subjective intent and perceptions.

It’s me being funny. I’m not trying to sexually harass people,” for example, or “I come from a very different culture,” or “I remember trying to kiss [her] as part of what I thought was a consensual seduction ritual.”

However, the accused’s intentions, thoughts, or beliefs – so central in the statements I studied – are only peripheral under sexual harassment law.

Not a joke

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the main federal law that covers workplace discrimination and harassment, an employee may sue her employer when she has experienced severe or pervasive workplace harassment.

Severity and pervasiveness are judged subjectively, from the harassed person’s point of view, and objectively, in the view of a theoretical “reasonable person.” The law also requires that the conduct be unwelcomed by the harassed person.

Though different courts have interpreted these requirements differently around the edges, sexual harassment cases do not turn on whether the harasser thought his conduct was a joke, or culturally acceptable, or ritualized seduction.

Instead, the law’s subjectivity and “welcomeness” requirements ask a superior – like Cuomo – to evaluate his own conduct from his subordinate’s point of view. Superiors who want to avoid committing harassment to begin with (before anything gets to a judge, jury, or media story) need to step outside their own perspective.

This requires empathy. And the more power that a person wields in the workplace, the more difficult it may be to step outside one’s own position and consider the circumstances from another person’s perspective.

‘I never intended’

Here’s where Cuomo’s responses are revealing.

In his first official statement, released on Feb. 28, 2021, out of 18 “I” statements, over half were versions of “I never intended,” “I was being playful,” or “I do, on occasion, tease people.”

Cuomo followed suit in his press conference on March 3, repeating over and over variations on the “I never intended” or “I never knew” or “I didn’t mean it that way” theme.

These statements suggest that, over his long career, Cuomo did not pay attention to the effects of his words and actions on his subordinates, and that the power of his position may have reinforced his heedlessness.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission warns about just this type of scenario in its list of harassment risk factors: “High value employees may perceive themselves as exempt from workplace rules or immune from consequences of their misconduct.” Workplaces with significant power imbalances, too, make the risk factor list.

If the movement sparked by #MeToo focuses only on taking down individual bad actors, it will leave intact the workplace structures that enable and protect the powerful – and that produce statements like Cuomo’s. Ending sexual harassment requires a critical rethinking of workplace power, whether it flows from ownership of a company, management of an office, supervision of a shop floor, or the office of the governor.

Charlotte Alexander, associate professor of law and analytics, Georgia State University

The Conversation
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Deutsch LA doubles referral bonuses for Black candidates

Hi and welcome to Insider Advertising for April 1. I’m senior advertising reporter Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

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Kim Getty

IPG agency Deutsch is doubling its referral bonuses for Black candidates as the ad industry struggles with diversity

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cuomo resignation
Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

NY Gov. Cuomo is hunting for crisis PR help as he battles negative press

Read the story.

facebook fake animal rescue screenshot
Animal welfare non-profit Lady Freethinker found dozens of videos on Facebook showing animals placed in distressing staged rescue scenarios.

Facebook is hosting animal abuse content disguised as rescues – and some of the videos have racked up millions of views

Read the story.

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Cuomo aides sent out an open letter that attacked accuser Lindsey Boylan after she came forward with assault allegations: NYT report

Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021

  • Cuomo aides sent a letter to attack Lindsey Boylan’s credibility, The New York Times reported.
  • The letter was sent to former staffers after Boylan accused the governor of misconduct in December.
  • Sources say Cuomo was aware of the letter and took part in at least one draft.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

People tied to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sent around a letter attacking Lindsey Boylan after she came forward with sexual assault allegations in December, The New York Times reported.

Aides reportedly tried to get former staffers, especially women, to sign on to the open letter, which said that Boylan was making the allegations for political gain.

“Weaponizing a claim of sexual harassment for personal political gain or to achieve notoriety cannot be tolerated,” the letter said. “False claims demean the veracity of credible claims.”

The letter, which was never published but reviewed by the Times, tried to link Boyland to former President Donald Trump’s followers and released personal complaints made against her.

She was the first of six women who have accused Cuomo of inappropriate behavior.

Boylan first recounted the alleged harassment in a Twitter thread in December and in February in a Medium blog post, saying Cuomo made unwanted sexual advances toward her.

She resigned in 2018 after the governor kissed her on the lips without her consent.

The Times added that there were multiple drafts of the letter, with one source telling the outlet that Cuomo himself had a hand in its creation.

The letter came at a time when officials in Cuomo’s office knew of another sexual harassment report, one made by Charlotte Bennett six months earlier. Bennett would become the second woman to publically accuse the governor of misconduct. She claimed he asked her inappropriate questions and also made unwanted sexual advances toward her.

Cuomo has previously said he never inappropriately touched anyone but apologized for making anyone uncomfortable.

Lawmakers including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York have called on Cuomo to resign in light of the allegations.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos that if an investigation supports the women’s allegations, Cuomo should step down.

“I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too,” Biden said.

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Cuomo aide, who is accused of helping cover up nursing-home death tolls, was once a professor of ethics in government

linda lacewell cuomo
Linda Lacewell, right, after testifying at a bribery trial in Manhattan on January 24, 2018.

  • Linda Lacewell, a top Cuomo aide, is accused of covering up the number of New York’s nursing-home deaths.
  • Lacewell was previously Cuomo’s Chief of Staff and oversaw “ethics and law enforcement matters.”
  • She also taught classes on ethics in government at New York University’s School of Law.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

One of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s senior aides who faces allegations involving the nursing-home death toll cover-up previously taught classes on ethics in government, legal news website Law & Crime reported.

Linda Lacewell, the head of New York’s Department of Financial Services, is one of the three top aides accused of changing a report to conceal the real number of deaths in the state’s nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The New York Times.

The Cuomo administration publicly cited figures that were roughly 50% lower than the real death toll, The Times reported.

Lacewell, who formerly served as Cuomo’s Chief of Staff, is one of the officials who is alleged to have directed the removal of COVID-19 deaths from the report, the New York Post reported.

The allegations are at odds with Lacewell’s background in ethics. She oversaw “ethics and law enforcement matters” while acting as Cuomo’s Chief of Staff, according to her biography on the New York State website.

Lacewell was also a professor of ethics for several years. While serving as an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, Lacewell taught a class called “Ethics in Government: Investigation and Enforcement.”

In response to questions from Law & Crime about Lacewell’s involvement in rewriting the report, the website was directed to two statements that assert that the true number of deaths in nursing homes was omitted due to verification issues.

“The out-of-facility data was omitted after Department of Health could not confirm it had been adequately verified,” Special Counsel and Senior Advisor to Cuomo, Beth Garvey, said in the statement.

“Task Force Members, knowing the report needed to withstand rigorous public scrutiny were very cautious to not overstate the statistical analysis presented in the report,” Garvey added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Cuomo biographer details long history of Governor’s abuse towards staff

cuomo scandals
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

  • A reporter who wrote a biography of Andrew Cuomo says he has a history of bullying subordinates.
  • In a Vanity Fair essay, Michael Shnayerson told of several instances where Cuomo went after workers.
  • Cuomo has recently been accused of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior by multiple women.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A reporter who covered New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for years and wrote a biography on him in 2015 said the recent allegations against Cuomo are predictable given his long past.

In an essay in Vanity Fair, Michael Shnayerson said Cuomo had a history of attacking subordinates.

He said while Cuomo was serving as the assistant secretary and later as the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, he would call older staffers “white heads” as a jab at their age.

He would also allegedly call them or “f–kheads” or “dumb f–ks.”

In the past few weeks, several women have alleged that Cuomo sexually assaulted them, behaved inappropriately, or touched them without their consent, and former staffers have detailed accounts of verbal abuse. The allegations have prompted Democratic lawmakers in New York, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, to call on Cuomo to resign.

Additionally, more than a dozen former aides have said they were either explicitly told or felt pressure to wear makeup and heels in Cuomo’s presence.

One staffer told Shnayerson that after being the subject of Cuomo’s “wrath” that she would just “sit in a meeting and put my head down, and I’d say, ‘Not here.'” However, Cuomo still continued to attack her.

In 1998, former HUD inspector general Susan Gaffney testified that Cuomo and his aides ran a smear campaign against her, saying that she was a racist because she produced audits that were critical of his administration. Cuomo would also call her at home on the weekends to berate her, she said.

Cuomo’s office did not reply to Insider’s email request for comment at the time of publication.

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What is Cuomo clutching in a photo of him wrapped in a blanket, taken at the end of a politically tumultuous week?

Cuomo skitch
  • Gov. Cuomo is facing calls to resign after allegations of sexual harassment from at least six women.
  • He was defiant during a Friday conference call and was later pictured pacing around Gracie Mansion.
  • Draped in a blanket and holding a phone to his ear, Cuomo appeared to be clutching spring water.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

After a politically tumultuous week in his career, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was photographed Friday evening speaking on the phone and walking the grounds of the governor’s mansion.

The New York governor is facing calls to resign following allegations of sexual misconduct and political fallout over claims that his administration misrepresented the number of COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes.

Draped in a blanket, Cuomo appears to be clutching a blue bottle with his left hand. Here, on a Friday night, we were full of curiosity, “What is he drinking?”

While Insider could not confirm the brand, it appears to be the New York staple Saratoga Spring Water. (Twitter seems to agree, though it’s not clear if it is still or sparkling.)

Insider reached out to Cuomo’s office for confirmation.

2021 03 12T230736Z_1426176436_RC2Z9M9M3MU3_RTRMADP_3_NEW YORK CUOMO.JPG
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo walks on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion following allegations that he had sexually harassed young women, in Albany, New York, U.S., March 12, 2021.

Saratoga calls itself the “premium product of choice for America’s most sophisticated consumers,” according to the company website. The water company goes on to say it prides itself for its “iconic cobalt blue glass bottles.”

The viral photo emerged as Cuomo faces escalating bipartisan pressure from state and federal lawmakers to resign, after at least six women have accused him of sexual misconduct.

Cuomo has remained defiant on calls for his resignation as more women have come forward, saying on Friday that he wouldn’t bow down to “cancel culture.” He added that he is not part of “the political club,” He has served three terms as governor, and his father, Mario Cuomo, was also a New York governor.

Hours after his conference call, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, both Democrats from New York, added their voices to the chorus of politicians calling for Cuomo to step down.

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In light of Cuomo allegations, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer suggests Dems have a double standard when it comes to allegations of sexual harassment

Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is pictured on October 16, 2020.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer suggested Thursday that fellow Democrats have a double standard when it comes to holding their own accountable around allegations of sexual harassment, according to Politico.

Speaking at a Politico Live event, Whitmer was asked about the mounting cascade of sexual misconduct allegations against Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“Is there a different standard for different sides of the aisle? We just had a president who lasted all four years with numerous allegations against him, so far as rape. No one on his own side of the aisle was making observations about whether or not he should stay in office,” Whitmer said. “So is there a different standard? I guess one could conclude that.”

“But weighing in on that, I don’t know [if that] gets either one of us very far,” Whitmer told Politico’s White House correspondent Anita Kumar at the event.

Whitmer added that she supported New York Attorney General Tish James’ investigation into the allegations, and shared that she is a survivor of sexual assault, according to Politico.

“If [the allegations] are true, then there should be accountability. But until that investigation happens, I don’t know that you can make a conclusion,” Whitmer said.

Cuomo is facing escalating bipartisan pressure from state and federal lawmakers to resign after at least six women have accused him of sexual harassment. Cuomo has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying on Friday that he wouldn’t bow down to “cancel culture.”

On Thursday, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer also added their voices to the chorus of politicians calling for Cuomo to step down.

During the 2016 election, former President Donald Trump faced claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault from dozens of women. Trump has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct.

In the run-up to the 2016 election, audio of Trump boasting about groping women was unearthed, ahead of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” interview with Billy Bush. While the tape was widely condemned across the political aisle, Trump went on to win the presidency and build political support as new allegations followed him throughout his term.

In 2019, journalist E. Jean Carroll alleged that Trump had raped her in the mid-1990s. Trump continued to maintain support from GOP lawmakers.

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