Leave it to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take a nice idea and turn it into a mess.
Last week, Cuomo announced plans for a “Circle of Heroes” statue in Battery Park City’s Rockefeller Park to honor essential workers’ valor during the pandemic.
Problem is, his top-down decision didn’t consider the fact that this would cost the area some much-valued green space. Locals are furious, saying the gov blindsided them.
“This memorial requires bulldozing a local community park with natural grass and trees where many friends and family members gathered safely outdoors during the pandemic, and where many children run and play. The memorial will replace natural grass with concrete and an ‘eternal flame,’ ” Battery Park City resident Adrian Mak said, noting the total lack of “public hearings, public meetings or community input.”
Cuomo’s given some ground, agreeing to move the memorial from the park’s center to a corner, and his office argues the monument will only take up 3,000 square feet, or 2 percent of the park.
But it still reeks of the arbitrariness New Yorkers learned to resent as the gov wielded near-total power for the last 15 months. For example: What’s the rush to have it up by Labor Day? And why not even consult the folks who regularly use the park — was it just because he didn’t legally have to?
The plan also features Cuomo’s characteristic weirdness, reminiscent of the bizarre self-praising poster he commissioned at public expense last year: Surrounding the flame will be 19 red maple trees symbolizing the 19 types of essential workers who kept the city alive. Nineteen by the gov’s personal count, that is.
Even when he’s claiming to honor others, this governor makes everything about him. Nearly 12 years in power have left him unrivaled in his arrogance.
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