“You can’t be sexually assaulting women,” said the stand-up comedian, 41, shortly after Cuomo announced his pending resignation amid increasing pressure and charges of sexual harassment.
“You’re holding a position of power. You’re destroying New York … Face the music! Face the music!” he said.
Support was in short supply for Cuomo in his hometown barely a year after the governor was widely lionized for his handling of the state pandemic.
“Look, I have three daughters,” said Al Celentano, 53, a union carpenter also from Rockaway Beach. “You know what I’m saying? Sexual assault of any human being … The perverseness of the person, you cannot rehabilitate people like that.”
Celentano threw in a suggestion of possible criminal prosecution, a thought shared by other critics of Cuomo — the father of three daughters.
“It’s clearly a step, but will there be consequences beyond the resignation?” asked Aria Velasquez, 29, an East Harlem graduate student. “I felt he would resign eventually but I didn’t think it would happen this soon. I thought he would kind of, you know, go down kicking and screaming.”
Cuomo, with calls for his departure coming from across the city, the state and the White House, announced his departure while citing a “politically motivated” effort to oust him. But the Democratic veteran, son of previous Gov. Mario Cuomo, convinced few if any with the argument.
“He has no friends,” said Philip Zafiriadis, a 45-year-old math teacher. “He has no Democratic friends. He’s burned very bridge. He’s Cuomo-ed everybody he knows. I said earlier, it feels a lot less Cuomo-y in New York.”
Beverly Burchett, an actress and author from Cuomo’s native Queens, said the governor’s decision to walk away convinced her that his 11 accusers were telling the truth despite his public denial.
“But my personal opinion should not matter,” said Burchett, 60, of St. Albans. “I’m not on the jury. Why does my opinion matter? Anything that happens in the dark will come to light.”
E. Andrade, 31, of Astoria, said she was waiting for Cuomo to leave office since revelations emerged about his administration concealing the deaths of New York nursing home residents during the COVID-19 crisis.
“He has a whole list of things he’s done bad,” she said. “Making a book about how he’s the best governor? It was about time. I don’t think he did it willingly. I don’t think he had a choice.”
Cuomo, 63, retained one die-hard backer: 87-year-old West Village resident Arleen Knauer.
“Believe me, if he ran again for president, on the next term around, I would vote for him,” she said. “I feel he did a favor to himself, to the state and his three daughters. And let his life go on as best it can.”
- Top Feature Photo: Protesters are pictured outside Governor Cuomo’s Manhattan office on Aug. 4 to demand he resign – Luiz C Ribeiro/for New York Daily News