As Sandy battered New York City, Howard Glaser tweeted into the night, updating residents about power outages and flooding, and posting photos of conditions as he stuck by Governor Cuomo’s side. That’s where he’s been the past several days — making appearances at press briefings, riding along on tours of the damaged city.
Earlier this year, New York Magazine deemed Glaser the “state’s worst pitchman,” after he advertised rusting, weed-infested trains the state planned to sell off for scrap metal. But in the midst of this week’s superstorm, he has become a familiar face and a valuable source of information to residents starving for updates.
Since Cuomo took office in 2011, Glaser has served as the state’s director of operations — a job that involves constant management and coordination of disparate state agencies, including overseeing their response to emergencies. In the past year, he has been a pivotal player in New York communities’ recovery from Topical Storm Irene.
He came in with experience as a gubernatorial right-hand man, previously serving as a senior adviser to Mario Cuomo, Andrew’s father. Glaser recalled for Esquire magazine that he met Andrew Cuomo in the early 1980s, when the now-governor was tasked with heading his father’s campaign.
Glaser later spent much of the 1990s working closely with Andrew Cuomo as counselor and chief of staff within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where the younger Cuomo served as assistant secretary and then secretary during the Clinton administration. Cuomo lured Glaser from Washington, D.C. — where he rode out the Bush years as a consultant — back to New York State.