Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News/TNS/Sipa USA

Cuomo Tours Bronx Public Housing Unit, Calls Conditions 'Disgusting'

March 12, 2018 - 2:12 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- With Mayor Bill de Blasio out of town, Gov. Andrew Cuomo took the opportunity Monday to inspect an apartment at a Bronx public housing development.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, Cuomo inspected a unit at the New York City Housing Authority’s Andrew Jackson Houses. He spoke to reporters afterward along with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, and other officials.

“We know that the New York City Housing Authority residents, day in and day out, are living in unacceptable conditions,” Diaz said.

Cuomo said he saw cockroaches, vermin, peeling paint and plaster, mold, and a ceiling hanging down in a bathroom.

“It has nothing to do with the way the family is taking care of the unit. The unit is crumbling around them,” Cuomo said, “and it is disgusting, it’s uninhabitable, and it is just shocking that in New York state, we would have people who are subjected to these conditions.”

Cuomo said any New Yorker would be outraged by the conditions in Apartment 7F.

“The residents’ rights have been abused, period. No one, no one should be subjected to these conditions,” Cuomo said. “I’m not just here as a governor. I started as a person who built affordable housing. I started as a tenants’ advocate, and I want the residents to know today I am on their side, and I will be on their side until we correct this situation – period.”

He said he was not there to assign blame, but to prompt action.

Cuomo outlined one scenario.

"The state declares and emergency and appoints a management agent; a contractor; an independent monitor," he said.

Cuomo said the state could take over, and added that he wants to know what the City Council and Mayor de Blasio want to do. Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-15th) slammed de Blasio as he stood with the governor.

"The mayor is out of town,” Torres said, “but the mayor had been out of town when it comes to the management of public housing."

Torres said the mayor’s absence symbolizes for him the absentee management of public housing.