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As state prepares Pataki portrait, Cuomo still won’t sit for painter

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It has been 13 years since he has left office. But former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who grew up in Queens, said he will not be posing for his portrait to be hung in Albany out of objection to “the principle” of the tradition.

“When you put the picture of the governor up in a great state like New York state, it’s suggesting that you’re honoring him,” Cuomo said last week during a groundbreaking of a new pediatric institute at Schneider Children’s Hospital and a 25−year celebration of the hospital.

Cuomo, a 76−year−old Jamaica native, said he could not take the kind of credit he said a portrait would symbolize because the successes of his administration were not just his doing.

Of the state’s accomplishments during his tenure from 1983−94, Cuomo said, “I had very little to do with that. It could have been done without me. It’s a team that’s working.”

With the state set to hang the portrait of Cuomo’s successor, former Gov. George Pataki, next year, The New York Times reported last week on Cuomo’s reluctance to pose for an artist.

At the Schneider groundbreaking, Cuomo said he did not think it was appropriate to have his portrait hung, although each of the state’s governors except for him have posed for one. The portraits are hung in the state Capitol.

“I don’t like the principle,” he said, noting that he also does not have the patience to sit for a portrait.

“I went to shaving with electrical razors so I wouldn’t have to look at myself the mirror,” he said.

Cuomo quipped that if the state needed a portrait to hang, it should be of his wife, Matilda.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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