It's one day into her campaign for governor of New York, and it's already obvious that Cynthia Nixon wants to make fixing the ailing subway a huge priority. As luck (or probability) would have it, she experienced the MTA's soul-deadening delays firsthand on the way to her first campaign rally on Tuesday.
Nixon was late due to major delays that likely happened because of an early-morning fatality on the tracks. Police said transit worker St. Clair Ziare Richards-Stephens fell in a subway tunnel and suffered trauma to his head. He was pronounced dead on the scene. As a result, the city's lagging infrastructure caused service suspension and chaos in some of its major transit hubs.
"It should have taken 30 minutes. It's now an hour and 10 and we are still not there," Nixon told AM New York. It's unclear if Nixon knew at the time what was causing the delays.
“I literally had to get off three separate trains, and that doesn’t include when we were able to stay on the trains but just sit in the tunnel,” she told a New York Times reporter.
She added that this was "a quintessential moment in Cuomo's MTA."
When she finally arrived at the rally in Brownsville, Brooklyn, she wasted no time in criticizing her opponent, incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Nixon is running on a populist message, aiming to improve the public school system, enforce minimum wage laws, and fight against "mass incarceration and the over-policing of communities of color."
But at the rally, it was #CuomosMTA that really got her fired up.
"We need to fix our broken subway. You know that and I know that because we are on it every day, unlike Governor Cuomo," Nixon said. "The subway is the lifeblood of our city. If the subway dies, so does New York and right now our subways are on life support."
Cuomo and Nixon will face off in the New York Democratic primary on September 13. The criticisms from Cuomo's camp are already coming: On Tuesday, former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn slammed Nixon in an interview with the New York Post for endorsing Bill de Blasio over her in the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary.
"Cynthia Nixon was opposed to having a qualified lesbian become mayor of New York City. Now she wants to be an unqualified lesbian to be the governor of New York. You have to be qualified and have experience. She isn’t qualified to be the governor," Quinn said.
She added: "She’s an accomplished actress, a supporter of political causes and that’s a good thing. Participating in rallies is important. But she’s never run an organization. Being an actress and celebrity doesn’t make you qualified for public office. This is a time to move away from celebrity and toward progressive leadership."
Nixon, meanwhile, maintained that the state needs an outsider to wade through what she called a "cesspool" in Albany. The race, she said, is about "the corruption in Albany. It’s time for an outsider. I’m not an Albany insider."
There was no need to mention her sexual orientation, but Quinn (who identifies as a lesbian) may have just inadvertently handed Nixon a gift: It's a memorable phrase that could be used in the candidate's favor. (For the record, Nixon has at one point said she identifies as bisexual, even though she seems to prefer not to put a label on it.)
"Her being a lesbian and my being a lesbian" is not the point, Nixon said.
We've reached out to representatives for Nixon and Cuomo, and will update this story when we hear back.
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