Inside and outside: New Yorkers assess Cuomo at NYC rally

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo speaks

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference where he announced he will run for New York state governor. (May 22, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Chris Bastian and Erika Nijenhuis came from Brooklyn Heights to lower Manhattan on Saturday afternoon to see Attorney General Andrew Cuomo give his first public speech since announcing his candidacy for governor earlier in the day.

They were too late.

Shortly before the event started at 2:30 p.m., organizers closed off public access to the pathway that runs behind City Hall and the Tweed Courthouse, where Cuomo addressed a crowd of more than 100 supporters.

So Bastian and Nijenhuis, who are married and both registered Democrats, stood behind metal barricades and strained to listen for what they could hear.

"It would be interesting to see if he would be more effective than Spitzer because they come from the same background," said Nijenhuis, 49, referring to former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a lawyer and Democrat who was elected governor after serving as state attorney general. "The dynamics are different, because now you have a completely dysfunctional Senate."

The two were not completely sold on Cuomo. Bastian, 50, a transportation planner, said he didn't know if Cuomo would have been his first choice as a Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"Who else?" his wife, a lawyer, said.

"There aren't a lot of options," Bastian conceded.

Nijenhuis said that with Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) having a "iron lock on the Assembly," it wasn't clear that Cuomo could actually change anything.

"He has to create enough momentum that the Assembly has to go along," she said.