By Tom Precious
ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a Capitol construction rehabilitation project begun over a decade ago by former Gov. George Pataki has been officially completed.
The Democratic governor unveiled the final piece of work this morning a few hours before his annual State of the State address: an ornate skylight atop a staircase on the Senate side of the building. [The work on the skylight was actually completed months ago; it was kept covered up by a huge tarp until Cuomo unveiled it this morning.]
Meanwhile, there is a heavy police presence at the Capitol in advance of the governor’s afternoon address; a large group of protestors opposed to Cuomo’s possible embrace of natural gas fracking in New York is expected outside the state convention center where Cuomo will address lawmakers and invited guests. Actress Debra Winger and musician Natalie Merchant are among those expected to participate in the protest.
UPDATE: The anti-fracking protest is far larger than many, including state officials, were expecting. A long line of hundreds of loud demonstrators are stretched along the underground concourse area beneath the state office complex here -- shouting and chanting at each person heading into the convention center for Cuomo's speech.