SARANAC LAKE - Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited this village briefly on Tuesday as part of a one-day vacation with his daughters.
"My girls have a couple of days off, so I dropped them off at Whiteface, ran over to Saranac (Lake), took a look around, and now we're going back to Whiteface," Cuomo told an Enterprise reporter and editor while pumping gas at the Hyde Mobil station on Lake Flower Avenue, under sunny skies.
"I love it. It's beautiful here. What a day."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo talks with an Enterprise reporter as he finishes pumping gas Tuesday at the Hyde Mobil station on Lake Flower Avenue in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)
Cuomo's press office had announced Monday that the governor would be in Essex County, but no details of his schedule were made public.
Around noon, an Enterprise reporter spotted a pair of black sport-utility vehicles parked on Broadway in front of Community Bank, with two men standing on the sidewalk - members of Cuomo's state police security detail.
A few minutes later, the security personnel hopped in the SUVs and headed back up Broadway to Main Street, turning onto River Street. The Enterprise followed the vehicles to Hyde Mobil where Cuomo, who had apparently been driving one of the SUVs, stepped out and started filling it up with gas.
Wearing dark sunglasses, a navy blue coat and jeans, Cuomo told the Enterprise that he loves the Adirondacks and has been vacationing in the area for 20 years.
"I really love it and can't get enough of it," Cuomo said. "So, my daughters have off, and they're doing some skiing. We had a great day for it, so we took advantage of it. It's back to work tomorrow."
Before Cuomo cut the conversation short, Enterprise Managing Editor Peter Crowley mentioned to the governor that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, had met with the newspaper's editorial board while he was office. He asked Andrew Cuomo if he'd be interested in doing the same.
"I wanted to come up and do a budget forum here," Cuomo said. "We didn't get the chance yet, but maybe after the budget's passed we'll come back and do an interview at the paper."
Inside Hyde shortly afterward, employees said they didn't know the governor had just stopped there. He paid for his gas at the pump and didn't go inside.
"I wish I would have known because I would have pumped for him," Kevin Munn said with a smile. "We would have had a little chit-chat."
Village Manager John Sweeney was standing outside on the opposite side of the gas station while Cuomo was filling up, talking to former village trustee Dan Olson. Sweeney said he had no idea Cuomo was there, although Olson said he had spotted him and the two black SUVs earlier on Broadway.
At Whiteface Mountain Ski Center, General Manager Bruce McCulley said he had heard that Cuomo would be visiting the area today. He was glad to hear his daughters were skiing at the mountain.
"We think it's great," he said. "We're glad they're here, and they've certainly picked one of the most beautiful days of the year. I'm sure they're having a great time."
Cuomo has three daughters: Cara, Mariah and Michaela. He brought them to Saranac Lake in July for a campaign appearance at the Saranac Lake Adult Center, and the family later went bass fishing on Lower Saranac Lake.
Cuomo's live-in girlfriend, Sandra Lee, is also a fan of the area. A celebrity in her own right as host of a television cooking show, Lee recently told US Magazine that Saranac Lake is one of her two favorite vacation destinations, along with the Italian island of Capri.
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.