On the cover of New York Magazine’s August 16–29, 2021, issue, New York contributing editor Andrew Rice and reporter Laura Nahmias chart the rise and fall of the soon-to-be former New York governor Andrew Cuomo. Reflecting on the governor’s contentious decade in office, Rice and Nahmias speak to his friends, enemies, colleagues, and — in his first interview since he tendered his resignation earlier this week — Cuomo himself.
Nahmias, who has covered Cuomo for years as a reporter for local publications including Politico New York, City & State, and the New York World, says she was shocked by his decision to resign and didn’t believe it was going to happen until the moment it was actually happening. “I’ve covered Cuomo for more than a decade, and I’ve never known him to give up in a fight or willingly cede any power or control once he’d gained it,” says Nahmias. “A lot of the speculation now is about what Cuomo will do next,” she says, adding that in her interview with Cuomo, he himself stated that he isn’t sure what his next move will be. “We’ll see,” says Nahmias. “He’s come back from the dead before, politically speaking. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him try for yet another act in public life.”
For Rice’s part, the most surprising part of this story was just how unsurprising it was. “The shocking thing about Andrew Cuomo’s demise is how unsurprising and unlamented it is,” says Rice. “All the flaws that brought him down – his physicality, his desire to dominate, his scheming and vindictiveness – were not just part of a larger package of traits. They were the package,” says Rice. “As we say in the piece, we all knew what he was.”
Artist Tim O’Brien, who illustrated the cover, began working on this image prior to the governor’s resignation. “The request was to do something on the end of the Cuomo dynasty,” says O’Brien, adding that this conjured a mental image of workers removing a portrait from the wall. “I quickly comped that up and sent it to New York Magazine design director Thomas Alberty, adding that I was going out for a run and would check in again at noon. Like clockwork, at noon that day, Andrew Cuomo abruptly resigned.”