On Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo took his staff, Cabinet members and the Capitol press corps for a field trip to a piece of newly-acquired land in the Adirondacks, about two hours north of Albany.
For several hours, on the grounds of a hunting lodge formerly used as an executive retreat for the lumber company Finch Pruyn, reporters were granted an unusual amount of access to roughly two dozen cabinet members and the Governor himself in a largely unstructured “hang.”
The event was a departure from the Cuomo Administration’s typically tight hold on communications and events, and seemed as much intended to endear the Governor and his staff, who have a sometimes tortured relationship to media, to the reporters, as to promote the park and its goals of ecological conservation and tourism development.
The Governor, in a fleece and khakis, gave a short address on the importance of both environmental preservation and economic development in the state’s depressed North Country, before heading down to a dock to fish with his aide Joe Percoco.
The reporters were allowed to roam the property or head off on hikes, led by Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens, and by a local timber expert named David Osterberg. Osterberg’s took Secretary of State Cesar Perales, Housing Commissioner Darryl Towns and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher on the short trip to a 350-year-old white pine, where he let Perales and Towns measure its circumference.
Towns remarked “A tree grows in Brooklyn but not this big!”
Several Cabinet members and State Sen. Betty Little took canoes out onto the Boreas Pond. The Governor arrived at the canoe launch after having caught an eight inch Brook trout, and promptly set off in a vessel with New York Times reporter Thomas Kaplan.
Tags: Adirondacks, Andrew Cuomo, betty little, Cesar Perales, Darryl Towns, David Osterberg, Finch Prime, Joe Martens, Joe Percoco, Laura Nahmias, Nancy Zimpher, New York Times, North Country, Thomas Kaplan