Cynthia Nixon, fresh off a Between Two Ferns-esque campaign ad/interview with John Early, isn’t letting up on the online advertising as we get closer to the September 13 Democratic primary. (Remember: The primary is on a Thursday this year, not a Tuesday!) Her latest ad goes back to her roots as the subway riding candidate, with a two-minute plus look at the state of the subway (it’s bad), whose fault it is (Andrew Cuomo’s) and who will fix it (Cynthia Nixon).
The ad starts with idyllic pictures of New Yorkers of all kinds on the subway, calling the system the “lifeblood of New York City” before cutting to pictures of decay and disrepair (although somehow skipping over the very literal collapsed ceiling at Borough Hall). She also correctly notes that Andrew Cuomo hasn’t been on a subway since opening the Second Avenue subway’s three stops two years ago. Nixon vows that she’ll to tax the rich to modernize the signals, upgrade the fleet of subway cars, and actually make the rapidly deteriorating mass transit system functional.
The ad ends with a simple statement: “The difference between me and Andrew Cuomo is pretty simple. He’s the one who broke the subway. I’m the one who’s going to fix it.”
Will it work? Nixon is down big according to a Queens Tribune poll of voters who like Cuomo, hate congestion pricing, and are blind to the actual problems facing the Mets. She has a plan to get more funding to the subway, but hasn’t fully explained how she’d deal with the state Senate if Republicans still control it in November, or even how she’d get a fractious Democratic Party on board with congestion pricing or a millionaire’s tax. But to her credit, she’s been a more forceful voice for the state taking a leading role in fixing the subway; Cuomo, meanwhile, gave transit reporters strokes during their one and only debate.
Occasional Curbed contributor Ben Kabak also criticized the ad’s focus on the Second Avenue subway—which began long before Cuomo’s stint as governor did—over something like the much-loathed Enhanced Station Initiative, a Cuomo project that brought us station closures, new tiles, and benches—but few elevators and no fixes to the ailing signal system.
But one thing is for sure: thanks to the ironic twist of Andrew Cuomo’s insistence on installing Wi-Fi throughout the subway while ignoring everything else, people stuck on trains are going to have plenty of time to watch Nixon’s video and ponder how they’ll vote next week.