NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A plan to make an iconic bridge letter perfect has proven to be cost-prohibitive.
The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which opened in 1964 to connect Brooklyn with Staten Island, is named after Florentine Explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano.
The explorer had two Z’s in his last name. The bridge only has one.
A college student from Brooklyn started a petition to fix the misspelling. The petition had 181 signatures as of late Wednesday.
The student – Robert Nash, 21 of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn – wrote in the petition that Italian-Americans have shaped the U.S, and North America in numerous ways, and have also been “persecuted, disgraced, stereotyped, and discriminated against.”
“The Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano was the first European to explore the Atlantic Coast of what would become the United States of America. A bridge was built and supposedly named in his honor. There was great opposition to naming the bridge after an Italian explorer!” the petition said. “In the end, they spelled his name wrong. Since its inception, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge has been spelled wrong. It is time that the bridge is renamed with the correct spelling of the explorer’s name!”
But the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said fixing the name of the bridge would cost $4 million, and so it is not realistic.
Urban planner Robert Moses disapproved of using Verrazzano’s name on the bridge when it was planned — saying the explorer was of minor significance in history and his name was hard to pronounce — but the name won out with support Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and advocacy from the Italian Historical Society, according to the Brooklyn Daily.
The Staten Island Advance said a typographical error is to blame for the fact that the bridge is spelled with one Z.