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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. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Kept apart by two State Police cruisers, a pickup truck, occasional crosstown traffic and at least one city block at all times, feuding Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo marched separately and delivered separate speeches at an annual labor union parade down Fifth Avenue on Saturday.

It's a contrast from last year's labor parade -- which celebrates unions representing teachers, supermarket cashiers, hard hats, doctors, bus drivers, principals, transit workers and more -- when the Cuomo and de Blasio marched behind the same banner and gabbed nearly the whole time.

The self-described longtime friendship has crumbled this year as they've bickered about issues as wide-ranging as paying for mass transit, charter schools, more affordable housing and infectious diseases.

Earlier this summer, de Blasio accused Cuomo of exacting "revenge" and carrying out a "vendetta" to stymie the city's interests -- a charge at which Cuomo has scoffed.

Cuomo, who had called de Blasio's proposal earlier in the year to hike the minimum wage to $13 or more "a nonstarter" in Albany, this past week proposed phasing in a statewide minimum wage hike -- to $15.

"I'll tell you this. You think you can stop this campaign in Albany? You haven't seen anything yet!" Cuomo shouted from the back of the truck draped with his name. "We're going to mobilize the working families of New York like they've never been organized before! You stand in the way of the working families, they're going to knock you down!"

The coolness of Cuomo and de Blasio's relationship was obvious to the handful of spectators watching Saturday's parade from the sidelines along Fifth Avenue, from 44th Street to 67th Street, several said.

Tourist Eileen Heigelmann, 52, a banker from Akron, Ohio, glanced at the blocks-long distance between the men as she noshed on a bagel, her breakfast, in front of Tiffany's.

"They're not friends," she said, suggesting the two ought to consider quashing their feud for the good of the state rather than quarreling. "Things are probably not going to be resolved that way."


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