NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York said farewell to the state’s former three-term governor, Mario Cuomo, at his Manhattan wake on Monday.
Visitation was held at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home on Madison Avenue until 5 p.m., and resumed from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday.
PHOTOS: Remembering Mario Cuomo
As CBS2’s Steve Langford reported, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, his longtime girlfriend Sandra Lee, and his children arrived at the wake Monday afternoon. They were accompanied by Matilda Cuomo, Mario Cuomo’s wife of 60 years.
A long line of mourners, waiting in the bitter cold, came to pay their respects and look back at a giant of modern American political history — something even opponents from across the aisle acknowledge. One of those opponents was former Republican U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato.
“Let me tell you that Mario Cuomo, in the political landscape today, would be the Democratic nominee for president, because he was able to articulate the liberal principals in such a way that he would win the nomination,” D’Amato said. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”
U.S. House Minority Leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), along with Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), were also among those here to salute the memory of the former governor and Democratic Party legend.
“He had the ability to inspire not only me, but the public in general, and get them really wanting to do more; wanting to give back wanting and want to volunteer,” Maloney said.
As CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, former Gov. George Pataki – the man who unseated Cuomo in his bid for a fourth term in 1994 – was also present to honor his predecessor. He said Cuomo was gracious in his defeat.
“To me, it’s a symbol of Mario Cuomo’s graciousness — how well he treated me after that election,” Pataki said. “We used to talk from time to time, we’d sit down from time to time, and he always wanted to do what was right for the people of this state.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan also attended, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
Cardinal Edward Egan, who served as Archbishop of New York until 2009, arrived to say goodbye to Cuomo, an Italian-American Roman Catholic who grew up in Queens.
Mario Cuomo was raised by Italian immigrants, and went on to live the American dream.
“He rose to the highest pinnacles of our political life, and he did it because he believed in New York, he believed in America, and most of all, he believed in the power of an individual to accomplish great things – and he did,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Schumer also recalled Cuomo’s optimism.
“At a time when people didn’t have hope in New York, and in the country in a lot of ways, he provided it,” Schumer said.
And there was, in the outpouring of sadness and honor, a sense that Mario Cuomo was one of a kind –- and the kind the country needs today.
“Right now, we could use his voice,” said former New York State Comptroller Carl McCall, “because he was a voice of reason, he was a voice of inspiration, and he was a brilliant man who really helped and inspired a lot of people.”
Many also praised Cuomo’s political and personal style.
“He was an example that you can be civil. He was a man of great pride. You have to have that if you’re going to be in the public eye,” said said Phil Donahue of talk show fame. “And devotion, and most certainly a family man.”
Cuomo’s funeral is at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Ignatius Loyola Church, 980 Park Ave. The funeral will be open to family and friends and arrangements are being made for media wishing to attend.
Cuomo, 82, died in his Manhattan home on Thursday evening, hours after his son, the current Gov. Cuomo, was inaugurated for a second term.
The governor spoke for the first time about his father’s death publicly on Saturday, saying, “there is a hole in my heart that I fear is going to be there forever.”
Andrew Cuomo is postponing his state-of-the-state address until Jan. 21. It had been scheduled for Wednesday.
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