LOWER MANHATTAN (PIX11) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo broke a variety of conventions in his inauguration ceremonies on Thursday. He chose to hold the event outside of Albany, contrary to a longstanding tradition. He held the ceremony at the newly completed One World Trade Center; and also chose to "speak to the times," as he'd described his inaugural address before giving it. It included many hot button issues facing the nation, as well as New York, which rekindled speculation about Cuomo's national aspirations.
On hand for the ceremony was a who's who of New York state and city politics -- among them U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and PBA union president Pat Lynch. They were all gathered in a two-storey high hall on the 64th floor of One World Trade, the Western Hemisphere's tallest building.
"The high point of New York," said the governor in his speech, "on the same site as the low point after 9-11. Why? Because that's who we are."
He was referring to residents of New York, but also to the nation, one of many times he talked about national themes in his address. While the subject matter refueled speculation about Cuomo seeking national office, it also spoke to issues on many people's minds.
"The world saw an African American man in Staten Island die," said Cuomo, "and people are confused, disappointed and angry.
"Law enforcement officials have been assaulted and even assassinated," he continued.
"This is a New York City issue," the governor said, "but also a Ferguson issue, also a Los Angeles issue.
"When they're questioning whether or not our justice system is fair, they're questioning the essence of everything we believed in."
The man who'd strongly won re-election, but by an 8-point smaller margin than in 2010, got a standing ovation from the mostly sympathetic crowd.
Afterward, Mayor DeBlasio, who Cuomo had described in his speech as "an old friend," continued his nine-day streak of not taking questions from reporters. "See you soon," the mayor said as he dashed out of the north entrance of the sky-high building.
Those officials who chose to speak, talked about how New York issues are national ones.
"To have a broad, comprehensive agenda dealing with our problems," Sen. Schumer said afterward, "and telling New Yorkers to come together, and reach deep down within us, and then reach high... that's a great thing."
"He's playing out nationally," said State Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, "but because of New York's greatness, diversity and strength, we can address those issues and make the progress that's needed."
Cuomo is expected to focus more heavily on New York issues in his state of the state address next week in Albany.
He also spoke for some time in his Thursday speech about his father, former New York governor Mario Cuomo. He confirmed that his father was too ill to attend the inauguration, but said that he and his family had spent New Year's Eve with the former governor.
Cuomo the younger said that he'd read his speech to the elder Cuomo, who called it "pretty good for a second term. You see, my father had served three terms."
After Andrew Cuomo finished his midday speech and reception in Lower Manhattan, he and newly sworn in lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul flew to her hometown of Buffalo for another inauguration event. It's not clear what the exact cost of the dual ceremonies on either side of the state cost.
Still, the Cuomo Administration can safely argue that it's still cheaper than past inaugurations in Albany. Some of his predecessors have made it a multi-day affair. Former governor George Pataki's inauguration included an event at a stadium, complete with a laser light show.