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Cuomo, de Blasio maintain chilly distance at labor union parade

Sen. Chuck Schumer and New York Mayor Bill

Sen. Chuck Schumer and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio give a thumbs up during the 2015 Labor Day parade in Manhattan, on Sept. 12, 2015. Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Kept apart by two State Police cars, a pickup truck, occasional crosstown traffic and at least one city block length at all times, feuding Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo marched separately and spoke from separate platforms at an annual labor union parade Saturday.

It was a contrast from last year's parade -- which celebrates unions for teachers, supermarket cashiers, hard hats, doctors, bus drivers, principals, transit workers and more -- when the pair marched together and gabbed much of the time.

Their mutually described longtime friendship this year has dissolved into constant conflict and a power struggle on a wide variety of large and small issues. They've barely spoken or appeared together in public -- leading different processions, for example, at the West Indian parade on Monday and a ticker-tape tribute in July to the U.S. women's soccer team. A rare exception was a handshake Friday at a Sept. 11 ceremony.

De Blasio accused Cuomo in June of a "vendetta" to stymie the city's interests -- a charge at which Cuomo has scoffed.

Each portrayed himself Saturday as a friend of labor.

Cuomo -- who dismissed de Blasio's proposal earlier this year to hike the minimum wage as "a nonstarter" in Albany -- proposed this past week a statewide increase to $15 an hour.

"We're going to mobilize the working families of New York like they've never been organized before!" Cuomo shouted from the back of a truck.

De Blasio, on another platform, vowed to make New York "even more of a union town."

The coolness of their relationship was on display for the handful of spectators on the Fifth Avenue parade route.

Tourist Eileen Heigelmann, 52, a banker from Akron, Ohio, stood in the blocks-long distance between the men as she noshed on a bagel in front of the Tiffany & Co. store.

"They're not friends," she said, suggesting the two ought to get over their quarrels. "Things are probably not going to be resolved that way."

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