From left, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, George Pataki,...

From left, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, George Pataki, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Sen. Charles Schumer stand near the coffin of former Gov. Hugh Carey at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan. (Aug. 11, 2011) Credit: AP

Politicians past and present and of every stripe have filled St. Patrick's Cathedral to remember former Gov. Hugh Carey, who led New York out of an economic crisis in the 1970s.

Former Gov. Mario Cuomo said Thursday that Carey was "the most effective governor in our modern history." Carey, a liberal Democrat, received bipartisan praise for his leadership.

"He did in fact save New York City and when he saved New York City, he saved New York State. And when he saved New York City and New York State, he protected the honor of the whole country," Cuomo said outside the church before the service. "He was obviously the most effective governor in the modern era ... myself included."

Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop Emeritus of New York, called Carey "a prophet who spoke the truth ... with wisdom and strength," and "a political leader par excellence."

Former Lieutenant Gov Richard Ravitch, who also was part of the team that worked on the 1970s fiscal crisis, recalled his favorite personal memory of Carey:

"I went to see him to talk about public television. It was September 1979. He said: 'I am not going to talk to you unless you agree to be MTA chairman.' I said 'You're crazy.' And, of course, a week later, I agreed."

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said Carey's death represented the "passing of a giant. He was perhaps the most outstanding leader New York has ever had. If he were here today, he'd lighten things up and remind us of the good times."

Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch, a Democrat, arrived at the funeral with a Republican, former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato.

Current Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, sat near Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who's now an Independent.

Koch recalled Carey's people skills and "terrific sense of humor." The seven-term congressman was governor from 1975 to 1982.

He died Sunday at the age of 92.

With Dan Janison and Yancey Roy

Latest videos