Sharp Elbows in New York Politics

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have been publicly sniping at each other.

As Mr. de Blasio was in Washington, D.C., on Monday to deliver remarks at the National League of Cities, Mr. Cuomo came to the city and had a lot to criticize.

The governor said Monday that the state’s health department would investigate living conditions in the city’s 176,000 public-housing apartments. He also reiterated his interest in declaring a state of emergency at the housing authority, known as NYCHA.

Mr. Cuomo visited a city-run public housing complex in the Bronx, where he toured an apartment Monday and described the living conditions as “intolerable” and “disgusting.”

“I’m getting involved in NYCHA because it’s an emergency,” Mr. Cuomo said. “This has been the most egregious situation I’ve ever seen.”

Asked by reporters invited along on the tour if the timing of his visit related to the mayor’s out-of-town trip, Mr. Cuomo said, “I don’t know where the mayor is. It’s none of my business.”

City Hall quickly called a news conference to respond to the Governor. At City Hall, First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan and Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said the governor should increase state aid to the housing authority, which is cash-strapped and has upward of $25 billion in unmet infrastructure needs.

Asked about the governor’s timing, Mr. Fuleihan demurred. “We’re going to keep focused on the things that we’ve been repeating,” he said, referring to the city’s request for more state aid.

The mayor’s spokeswoman declined to comment further.

Relations between City Hall and Albany have been contentious in other administrations, too. In recent years, Messrs. Cuomo and de Blasio have publicly feuded over issues including who should pay to fix the city’s subway and public hospitals and how to fund prekindergarten programs. The city’s housing authority is federally funded, but has received less federal aid over the past decade and a half.


Over the weekend, Mr. de Blasio traveled to Austin, Texas, to attend the South by Southwest conference, and a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting. On Saturday, Mr. Cuomo took to Twitter to criticize New York City schools, public housing and the jail at Rikers Island.

“Failing schools, NYCHA, Rikers, what do they all have in common?” the governor wrote on Twitter. “They have mostly minority populations and they are all being abused. I see my job as Governor to put my thumb on the scales for social justice.”

Write to Mara Gay at mara.gay@wsj.com

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