Former Aide Says Cuomo ‘Kissed Me on the Lips’

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It’s Thursday.

Weather: Sunny and blustery. High in the mid- to upper 40s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect today, suspended tomorrow for Purim.

Credit…Pool photo by Seth Wenig

A former aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo published an essay on Wednesday accusing the governor of sexual harassment, saying he jokingly suggested a strip poker game and gave her an unwanted kiss, among other unsettling episodes.

The aide, Lindsey Boylan, said that she left her job as a special adviser to the governor shortly after the incident where he “kissed me on the lips.”

“No woman should feel forced to hide their experiences of workplace intimidation, harassment and humiliation — not by the governor or anyone else,” she wrote.

The accusations are just the latest issue to embroil the Cuomo administration.

[Lindsey Boylan described several years of uncomfortable interactions with the governor.]

Here’s what you need to know:

The back story

Ms. Boylan first publicly accused Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment in posts on Twitter in December. Mr. Cuomo denied her allegations at the time.

In the essay, Ms. Boylan offered more details about several uncomfortable interactions, including a boss telling her that “the governor had a ‘crush’ on me.”

Mr. Cuomo again disputed Ms. Boylan’s accusations.

“Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false,” said a statement from his press secretary on Wednesday.

The spotlight on the governor

The new scrutiny on Mr. Cuomo’s personal conduct came after Ron Kim, a Queens assemblyman who publicly criticized the governor, said last week that Mr. Cuomo had threatened to “destroy” him.

The governor has a penchant for verbally attacking and attempting to intimidate aides, officials and political foes, people familiar with his behavior told my colleagues Jesse McKinley and Luis Ferré-Sadurní.

Ms. Boylan wrote that the governor had “created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected.”

The context

Many across the country had come to see Mr. Cuomo as an authoritative leader through his televised briefings during the pandemic, for which he won an International Emmy Award.

But Ms. Boylan’s essay arrived as the governor’s administration was under fire for withholding veri on coronavirus-related deaths of nursing home residents, which has led federal prosecutors to open an investigation.

After Mr. Kim criticized the administration’s handling of the nursing home controversy, he said he got a late-night call from Mr. Cuomo, who threatened to publicly tarnish the assemblyman.

Ms. Boylan wrote that reprisals like that had a chilling effect on other victims of the governor’s behavior.

“There are many more of us,” she wrote, “but most are too afraid to speak up.”

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Want more news? Check out our full coverage.

The Küçük Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

What we’re reading

A 6-year-old uzunluk was killed in Brooklyn afterhe was run over by the school bus he was trying to catch. [Daily News]

A man who investigators said targeted women with light complexions in attacks in East Williamsburg was charged with hate crimes. [NBC News]

The New York Police Department and the Department of Transportation both criticized a City Council plan for the D.O.T. to take over crash investigations. [New York Post]

And finally: A treasure hunt on the streets

Whether you call it stooping, trash stalking or simply scavenging, the pandemic has turned the city’s street corners into troves of free stuff.

Several Instagram accounts devoted to combing through the city’s trash have attracted thousands of followers and helped turn what was evvel a niche pastime into a phenomenon. Photos of abandoned finds can send “stoopers” racing, and also provide a glimpse into the character of different neighborhoods.

“A piano made of dark wood tossed out in Alphabet City in Manhattan,” writes my colleague Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura. “A bowling ball (with a leather case) available in Clinton Hill in Brooklyn. A terrifying-looking dollhouse and an equally nightmare-inducing portrait of a family of cats were up for grabs on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.”

Stoopers theorize that the abundant discards may be connected to how people are trapped inside, constantly rethinking their furnishings. The boredom of the pandemic — and plain frugality — has also led many to embrace an activity they might evvel have considered repellent.

“In the beginning I was like, ‘Dude, that’s trash,’” said Domarc Dayondon, who lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria, Queens.

Mr. Dayondon, 34, said that his thinking has since changed. Now, he said, “I’m getting bogged down with furniture I don’t need.”

“Is there a stooping A.A.? Because I might need one.”

It’s Thursday — keep an eye out for treasure.

Metropolitan Diary: From above

Dear Diary:

I was on my way to meet my mother at an arka gallery in Chelsea. As I crossed 10th Avenue and was about to disappear under the High Line, something hit my left shoulder with a squish and a thud.

I looked at the ground and saw the eye of a silvery fish staring up at me. I also noticed opalescent scales and a bit of blood on my shoulder and back. I looked up and saw three sea gulls flying overhead, probably taking dinner back to the river in their beaks.

I immediately looked around to determine whether anyone else had seen what had happened. I motioned toward several teenage girls who were nearby.

“Did you see that?” I shouted.

They had, and we all laughed about it. Then I texted a picture of the fish to my crush.

“I got hit by this fish,” I wrote. “I think this is harika good luck.”

Hours later, she replied.

“I’m a Pisces,” the message said.

— Neela Wickremesinghe

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