But they did something that, for a politician, may be just as symbolically painful: They painted him as a fat cat, stuffing his pockets full of phony cash from the gas drilling industry.
That happened during a brief street theater demonstration in which participants tore down a symbolic gas well set up in front of the state Department of Environmental Conservation's headquarters and replaced it with a metaphorical wind turbine.
While fracking protesters have been marching through the Capitol and demonstrating for more than a year, Monday's event was a bit bigger and a bit more highly organized than usual, featuring luminaries like actress Debra Winger, who lives in Sullivan County, and author Bill McKibben, who has written extensively about global climate change and other threats to the natural environment.
Although many in the state's political class were either running in primaries, partying at the GOP convention in Tampa or preparing for the Democratic convention in North Carolina next week, anti-frackers believed this was a good time to make one final summer push since they expect Cuomo to make a decision on fracking in September.
McKibben said Cuomo will have to live with the legacy of his decision.
"Gov. Cuomo has had one gut-check moment so far, and he stood up with flying colors," McKibben said, referring to the governor's decision to push legalization of gay marriage.
"This is the second gut-check moment."
"Will he stand up to the fossil-fuel industry?" McKibben asked during a brief interview before speaking to the crowd. "This will be the way in which environmentalists judge him going forward."
The event was attended by about 1,200 people who initially gathered at the Corning Preserve. After going to the DEC building, they marched up State Street to Capitol Park.
Much of the nearly daylong event focused on the governor and what anti-frackers said was pressure from Big Money gas supporters.
"I want to believe that he can press the 'reset' button today," Winger said of the governor.
By saying "no" to fracking, she suggested that Cuomo would be standing up to the "Bank of 1 percent," referring to the 1 percenters who had been earlier vilified by the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Queens Democratic Sen. Tony Avella, who also came to the protest, said Cuomo would have to answer for accidents or pollution that may result from hydrofracking.
"If you allow hydrofracking in this state, you own it," Avella said. "When the first contamination occurs, you own that, too."