ALBANY—The state's biggest anti-fracking demonstration of the year on Wednesday has been supplanted by New York apple cider, bobsleds and engines made in New York.
A wide array of tourist billboards and display booths are being set up in the concourse around the Empire State Convention Center, where Governor Andrew Cuomo will deliver his State of the State speech on Wednesday. The tables are occupying the area where hundreds of anti-frackers protested last year.
Cuomo's office reached out a week ago to invite members of the state's regional economic development councils to set up informational booths at the plaza. The invitation came after a coalition of protesters announced that more than 100 state and national environmental and public health organizations were bussing in members from around the state to demonstrate against fracking. Last year, the protestors, which included folk legend Pete Seeger, produced a deafening noise in the corridor and drew more than 1,000 people. This year's rally is expected to be bigger.
Environmental groups have been told by state officials that they will still be allowed to protest on Wednesday, but in a contained area. Those who leave the designated area, which is expected to hold about 1,000 people, will escorted back inside or could face arrest.
That's Sheriff Andy for you - not interested in hearing from New Yorkers opposed to fracking, not interested in hearing from New Yorkers opposed to his policies, and always looking for a way to quash dissent.
Will he do the same this re-election year as students, parents and teachers around the country protest his education reform agenda?