CORRECTIVE: Mario Cuomo Bridge story

August 16, 2019 - 6:24 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — In a story Aug. 15, The Associated Press, relying on information from state officials, erroneously reported which New York agencies were involved in fixing signs for the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge to add the governor's middle initial. State officials now say only the Thruway Authority has been doing work to add the initial, not the Department of Transportation, which changed signs for other reasons.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Governor's initial is missing, so new bridge signs need fix

Roughly year-old signs for the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge are being patched over because his middle initial is missing


Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — What's in a name? Or in the case of New York's new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, what's not in it?

Roughly year-old signs for the long suburban bridge are being patched over or replaced by the state Thruway Authority because they don't bear the former governor's middle initial, state officials said.

"The goal is to ensure uniformity across the system," Thruway spokeswoman Jennifer Givner said, noting that the work is done in-house with "existing state resources."

The state Department of Transportation also patched over its seven signs last fall, but only to reflect the replacement of the former Gov. Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge, state Transportation Department spokesman Joseph Morrissey said.

The Journal News first reported the sign tweaks.

The nearly $4 billion bridge over the Hudson River opened last year. Connecting Westchester and Rockland counties north of New York City, the span replaced the former Tappan Zee.

Lawmakers and current Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to name the new span after his late father, who held the state's highest office from 1983 through 1994. Mario Cuomo, who died in 2015, was Democrat, as is his son.

In a twist, Mario Cuomo had formally renamed the bridge to honor Wilson, a Republican. It had been the Tappan Zee Bridge since 1956, and many residents of the region kept calling it just that. (And many still do.)

The Cuomo change irked Wilson's daughter, and it spurred an online petition urging that the name revert to Tappan Zee, which harkened to the area's Native American history and Dutch colonists. Andrew Cuomo called the renaming-reversal campaign "vindictive" and personally hurtful.

The missing "M." fixes come as a state agency is also correcting a misspelling of the name of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. For over 50 years, one "Z'' was missing.

In that dropped-letter matter, the state Metropolitan Transportation Authority argued for years that it could cost millions of dollars to correct road signs, brochures and maps referring to the nation's longest suspension bridge.

Lawmakers and Cuomo agreed last year to fix the signs and materials only as they wore out or were reprinted.

The span honors Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who sailed into what is now New York harbor in 1524.

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