New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a COVID-19 mountain installation during a press briefing on June 29 (via YouTube)

The internet is having a field day with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s latest stunt — a mountain installation representing the curve of COVID-19 infections in the state, which he revealed during a press briefing on Monday, June 29.

“This is the mountain,” Cuomo said while unveiling a layered green styrofoam mountain in front of surprised reporters. The governor released a hesitant grin, seeming slightly embarrassed by his shtick, but he proceeded to say: “This is the mountain that New Yorkers climbed. You know, I keep showing the curve, this is the curve.”

YouTube video

Cuomo routinely used the mountain metaphor to describe the COVID-19 curve in his daily press briefings when the novel coronavirus was spreading vastly and rapidly through New York, making it the epicenter of the disease in the United States. The state has seen more than 393,000 confirmed cases and 24,885 deaths to date.

In recent weeks, the governor has been boasting about the success of the state in downturning the COVID-19 curve.

The mountain, which Cuomo described as “factually proportionate,” marks the peak of the outbreak with a “42” sign (the number of days from its unveiling since the outbreak spiked) pinned inelegantly at its summit.

“We don’t need to climb another mountain,” the governor said. “One mountain was enough […] We don’t want to do it again.”

Twitter users were quick to respond with a litany of parodies on Cuomo’s bizarre exhibit.

“Your jedi mind tricks do not work on me governor,” wrote one Twitter user who photoshopped the mountain into Jabba the Hutt, a Star Wars character.

Others have rendered the mountain as a pile of garbage or a failed school science project. Some have also referenced a scene from Steven Spielberg’s movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in which actor Richard Dreyfuss’s character sculpts a mountain out of mashed potatoes.

The numbers of new COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths in New York are currently low. But in the face of record spikes in other areas of the country, as New York moves forward with its reopening, Cuomo’s mountain might soon become a mountain range.

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant and he holds an MFA in Art Writing from the School of Visual...