INDIAN LAKE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg faced off in a whitewater rafting race in the Adirondacks.
It was all part of Cuomo’s inaugural Adirondack Challenge festival in Indian Lake, designed to promote tourism.
“We have about 50 million tourists per year that come into New York City. New York City is a global tourist destination. We want to say to those 50 million tourists, ‘Yes, New York City is great, we love it and we’re happy that you came to see New York City, we also want you to see the rest of the state,’” Cuomo said.
Cuomo and a host of other state and local officials and business leaders had been participating in paddling events as the festival kicked off on Sunday in the Hamilton County village. In his matchup with the mayor, the governor clearly had the home-stream advantage. He was seen just Sunday prepping with his staff, and acting like the race was in the bag.
“It’s Harlem on the Hudson,” Cuomo said. “We had special intelligence on the mayor’s preparation for the race, weeks and weeks of practice and timing. They almost closed down City Hall.”
The governor was asked if the mayor had any real rafting experience.
“I don’t think very much,” Cuomo said.
So in one corner, there was the mayor who’s more used to riding the subway than running the rapids, and in the other the governor, who, while he couldn’t pull off the hat and helmet head fashion, clearly liked being skipper.
And with that, the Adirondack challenge shoved off, not before a little good-natured water fight.
The governor’s raft seemed to be on cruise control, handling the class-3 rapids without much fuss, but the mayor and his city slickers were not exactly slouches.
In the end, it was the governor’s crew hitting the finish line first, by a mere 18 seconds, leaving the mayor’s raft up the creek without a, well, you know.
The two-day event also included a race featuring the state Senate, and the Assembly.
“They paddled very quickly but they stop often because they have to conference,” Cuomo said.
Brennan asked the Governor’s Office if there was any cheating involved. Officials said absolutely not. He then followed up if they suspected any juicing on either side. They said no, but there was no testing.
Sunday’s events included regional foods, live music, an art show and fly-fishing demonstrations. Professional and amateur paddlers competed over a 15-mile stretch of the Indian River before the Governor’s Invitational race Sunday afternoon.
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