Mourners lined up Monday to pay their respects to the late Mario Cuomo, the three-term governor of New York who built a political career on his eloquent advocacy for the common man.
Dignitaries in attendance included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), former New York Comptroller H. Carl McCall, who was unsuccessful in a bid to become governor, and former Sen. Alfonse M. D’Amato (R-N.Y.), who maintained cordial relations with Cuomo despite their different political outlooks and party affiliations. Vice President Joe Biden was also expected along with a roster of top politicians.
Cuomo, 82, died in his Manhattan home Thursday evening, hours after his son, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was inaugurated for a second term.
The governor spoke publicly for the first time about his father's death Saturday, saying, “There is a hole in my heart that I fear is going to be there forever.”
The two were very close, living together in Albany when Andrew attended law school.
Andrew Cuomo helped engineer Mario Cuomo’s early electoral successes, coming at a time when many in New York Democratic Party circles gave him little chance in a gubernatorial primary against former New York Mayor Edward I. Koch. After he was elected governor in 1982, the elder Cuomo used to say that he kept his son’s phone number on speed dial so he could consult at any time.
Andrew Cuomo put off his State of the State speech until Jan. 21 to allow time for mourning.
Mario Cuomo’s funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Ignatius Loyola Church on Park Avenue and is expected to draw numerous luminaries. Former President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton were among those expected to attend.
Mario Cuomo is probably best remembered for taking on the conservative vision of President Reagan and arguing that the poor and middle class were being ignored by policies such as trickle-down economics.
“There is despair, Mr. President, in the faces that you don't see, in the places that you don't visit, in your shining city,” Mario Cuomo famously said at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, a speech that became known as "A Tale of Two Cities."