Gov. Cuomo is many things, among them a savvy politician, a builder and a man who will rarely miss a chance to put Mayor de Blasio in his place. All three of these aspects of Cuomo’s character came together Monday, when the governor unveiled the new statue of Mother Cabrini that he ordered built in Battery Park City. Italian Americans — many of them stung deeply by the hatred of the iconic Christopher Columbus that has spilled from the academy onto the streets — as well as anyone who hails those who dedicate their lives to the poor, are grateful for Cuomo’s move.
Born in Italy, Cabrini was a nun and teacher who dedicated her life to serving orphans as the founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Here she taught in three boroughs, built hospitals, orphanages and schools, and later became the first naturalized U.S. citizen to be canonized, and the patron saint of immigrants.
When New York City asked the public to name great historical women for whom statues should be erected, Cabrini was the top choice. But first lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said no. Enter Cuomo. In one year he went from announcing plans to build a statue of Cabrini to dedicating a beautiful monument, designed by Jill and Giancarlo Biagi, on Columbus Day. It was a great move, and a reminder that today’s City Hall is anything but.