With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave another iconic bridge in the Hudson Valley a new official name.
Cuomo signed into law legislation changing the name of the Bear Mountain Bridge to the Purple Heart Veterans Memorial Bridge.
The state Legislature voted in favor of the new name in June, and the change became final Tuesday when it was signed by Cuomo.
The bridge's new name is connected, in a way, to the new Tappan Zee Bridge's official name of the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
In May 2017, the state Senate passed a bill to name the new Tappan Zee Bridge the "Purple Heart Memorial Bridge," but a short time later, the governor began his effort to name the bridge after his late father, the former New York governor.
When that effort became reality, the Senate went back to the drawing board and voted to change the name of the Bear Mountain Bridge to honor Purple Heart recipients, finally deciding on the Purple Heart Memorial Bridge.
The bill and change also honor Sen. Bill Larkin, R-New Windsor, Orange County, who is retiring, by naming the roadway that leads to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor after him.
But unlike the new TZB official name change, the bill specifies the name change as is ceremonial nature and that Bear Mountain Bridge will remain its official name.
According to the state Bridge Authority, which owns the bridge, the 2,255 foot-long bridge opened in 1924 and was the first vehicular river crossing between New York City and Albany.
It connects Rockland and Orange counties on the west bank of the Hudson to Putnam and Westchester on the east bank.
In addition, at the time it was built, it was also the longest suspension bridge in the world and the first suspended bridge to have a concrete deck.
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