Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio often say their decision to move forward with reopening New York City will be heavily influenced by data.

But as the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations decline, the two leaders are now leaning on advisory panels to help determine when and how to reopen the economy.

Veteran strategist and political consultant Ken Sunshine is on Mayor de Blasio's Arts, Culture and Tourism Council, as well as Cuomo's "New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board."

Sunshine says New York’s entertainment industry has been hit hard by the pandemic and he’s working closely with the city and state to determine how the Empire State's entertainment businesses can bounce back.

“We‘ve got to start from scratch, but you know what, we’re going to,” he told Inside City Hall on Tuesday evening. “We need New York to be New York again, and that’s part of the reason that I’m trying to do whatever I can to help these commissions to come up with some creative ideas on how quickly we can come back.”

Sunshine, who also serves on CUNY’s board of trustees, says that budget cuts to CUNY are of major concern. He says that funding from the federal government will play a crucial role in CUNY’s future, post-pandemic.   

“We’re holding our breath. We’re at the mercy of the feds. The feds are going to dramatically affect everything having to do with life in New York and CUNY and SUNY, which are totally dependent on public funds," he said. "If those public funds don’t come in, I fear what might happen."


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