TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition demanding the name of the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge be dropped from the new Hudson River bridge that used to be known as the Tappan Zee.
CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer asked Monday, what’s in a name?
Monroe Mann was glaring Monday at the new $4 billion bridge that connects Westchester and Rockland counties in the midst of a crusade. He wants the New York state Legislature to take Mario Cuomo’s name off the span and rechristen it with the name it was born with – the Tappan Zee.
“This is what the people of New York want,” Mann said. “They want their bridge back.”
Eight days ago, Mann started a petition drive. So far, more than 42,000 people have said no to Cuomo and yes to Tappan Zee.
“I don’t think any of these structures should be named for politicians unless perhaps they’ve been dead for 50 years – Lincoln Tunnel; George Washington Bridge – but in 50 years, are we really going to – is everybody and kids going to be talking about Mario Cuomo?” Mann said.
But Abbey Fashouer a spokeswoman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted that the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge “a fitting tribute to a life-long public servant who achieved great things for the people of New York.”
But among those who use the bridge, it was hard to find much support for the name Cuomo Monday.
“I’ve lived here for 30 years, and I believe Cuomo lives in Albany,” said Anita Wilson of Sleepy Hollow. “What does he know from Tarrytown?”
Kramer noted that the bridge is named not for the current Gov. Cuomo, but his father.
“Who cares?” Wilson replied. “Sorry.”
“I’ve been here my whole life, and I know the Tappan Zee Bridge,” said Tyler Pearson of White Plains. “To change it to the Mario Cuomo Bridge would do a dishonor to it.”
“Any name is fine as long as I know where it is,” another woman said.
“To me, it’ll always be the Tappan Zee Bridge,” added Howard Levine of Tarrytown.
Erasing the name Cuomo in favor of Tappan Zee would require the state Senate and Assembly to pass new legislation that the governor would have to sign into law. A veto could only be overwritten by a two-thirds vote of both houses.
“This particular name change was done at 1 o’clock in the morning. All the politicians want to go home. ‘Oh, by the way, we’re going to change the name of the Tappan Zee – whatever, I just want to go home; I’m exhausted – sure,’” Mann said.
A spokesman for the state Assembly said the chances of the Legislature renaming the bridge are “slim to none, and slim just left town.” But then again, 2018 is an election year, so you never know, Kramer reported.