What’s in a name?
Do you think the new Tappan Zee Bridge should be named in honor of the late NY Gov. Mario Cuomo?
The new bridge shouldn't be named after any person
The battle over naming rights of the new Tappan Zee Bridge came to a head on Thursday, as several members of Save Our Tappan Zee, a group dedicated to preserving the bridge’s namesake, printed out a change.org petition that garnered nearly 110,000 signatures from local residents lambasting the name “Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.”
On Thursday, the delegation traveled to the State Capitol building in Albany to drop off a printed out list of the signatures, which called open state legislators and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to restore the previous name of the span connecting Rockland and Westchester and strip it of the seldom-used official name of Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
In a statement, Rockland County Executive Ed Day announced his support for retaining the name “Tappan Zee” as part of the bridge’s name, offering a compromise in the form of two bills that have been submitted to the Senate.
“I strongly urge our local state representatives to respond to the demand of the people to co-sponsor and support the passage of New York State Senate bills (that) would restore the ‘Tappan Zee’ name back to our bridge whose complete name would then be the ‘Governor Mario M. Cuomo Tappan Zee Bridge.’
“This is a viable compromise to what has become both embarrassing and insulting to the lower Hudson Valley. This common-sense solution will help restore the tradition and history of our area by honoring the Tappan Native Americans who resided here as well as the early Dutch settlers. In a time when so much of the world around us is changing it is so important that we retain a true sense of our history; these bills will help us do exactly that.”
Ever since Cuomo announced the designation of Mario M. Cuomo Bridge as the official name for the new Tappan Zee span, the vocal outcry against the name has been heard loudly and often, including the petition, which was started by Port Chester resident Monroe Mann last year.
The petition, which has made national news, calls for the bridge to be returned to its original name, the Tappan Zee, claiming that “the bridge is our history.” It also says "it sounds cool to say, 'I'm taking the Tappan Zee" and not cool "to say, 'I'm taking the Cuomo.’"
In a Daily Voice poll that saw more than 20,000 votes cast, 70 percent of readers said that the bridge should not be named after Cuomo, while 22 percent said it should not be named after any one person. Just 6 percent supported the current name of the bridge.
The bill to rename the bridge for the elder Cuomo was introduced at the end of a long legislative session by a Suffolk County state senator. It came under immediate criticism by both residents and local politicians.
In the past, Cuomo has called the change.org petition “vindictive,” “hurtful,” and "mean," citing “ugly political times” for the reason so many have been so outspoken against the official designation of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.
“The bill passed overwhelmingly by Democrats and Republicans," Cuomo's said. "Something like 90 percent. And that’s heartwarming because those are people who knew my father, those are people who worked with my father, and they’re not hyper-partisans who are part of this campaign.
"It’s a brand-new bridge. It deserved a new name. When you build something new, you normally give it a new name.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.