Erasing the Tappan Zee name from the bridge removed an honor to the Tappan Native Americans and the early Dutch settlers.
Tell the N.Y. legislature and the Governor to rectify this disgrace.
Why Keep it the
Restoring the Tappan Zee name is about honoring history, Native Americans, and pride of place. The Tappan were a Native American tribe of Lenape people who inhabited the area when the Dutch settlers arrived.
Zee is Dutch for sea. The three-mile wide Hudson River expanse, where the bridge is located, is called the Tappan Zee.
The Big Ugly.
The Public Outrage. The Solution.
The First Mistake
In early June of 2017, a bill to name the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge - a structure that even former Gov. Andrew Cuomo had once referred to as the "New Tappan Zee"- was introduced at the end of a legislative session by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County). In addition to the Tappan Zee, it included renaming/naming other public structures and places paid for by the taxpayers after partisan politicians.
The Big Ugly
Set on getting the bridge he built named after his father, on June 28, 2017, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo formally proclaimed an "extraordinary session" (The Big Ugly) of the New York state legislature ostensibly to extend mayoral control of New York City public schools. Still, he added, "and other subjects as I may recommend," so it became a catch-all omnibus bill (a proposed law that covers many diverse or unrelated topics). As the lawmakers waited for a bill after being called to an extraordinary session by Cuomo, the bill was renegotiated and expanded behind closed doors (according to a Times Union article).
Slipping One By the People
One item, in particular, surprised several representatives when they finally got to see the bill - the New Tappan Zee Bridge's naming. The naming of the bridge - not a dire matter that many believed had not been fully explored by the legislature - didn't need to be included in an omnibus bill during a special session. Clearly, it was bully tactic maneuvering on the part of now former Gov. Cuomo and his cronies, all too often seen in Albany, to force lawmakers to vote on the Cuomo name whether they liked it or not.
Cuomo Calls Victory, Hoodwinked Lawmakers Fume
The name change passed, but many alarmed lawmakers said it passed only because the bridge's naming was lumped in with mayoral control and many tax extenders, which hindered them from opposing the name. Of course, former Gov. Cuomo hailed it as a victory for the Cuomo name, although many lawmakers disagreed with this and a large number of the state's citizens.
Public Outrage Erupts
The antics in Albany and the name itself left many citizens fuming once they found out. It also signified another instance in a troubling trend where politicians are renaming bridges/tunnels in and around New York City for other politicians. Examples: Tappan Zee - Gov. Mario M. Cuomo; Queensboro Bridge - Mayor Ed Koch; Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel - Gov. Hugh Carey; Triborough Bridge - Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. It's time to take a stand and restore the Tappan Zee name to the bridge spanning the Hudson's Tappan Zee!
Creating a Voice for Citizens
In November 2017, with public outrage growing, a Change.org petition was launched to restore the Tappan Zee name to the bridge. The time was ripe for such a petition, and it took off, garnering more than 100,000 signatures quickly, reflecting a groundswell of citizen outrage over bridge naming and how it went down in Albany. Even his brother, the news anchor, Chris Cuomo, spoke out about the bridge renaming not being what the late Gov. Mario Cuomo would have wanted. Still, former Governor Andrew Cuomo, defiant, chose to ignore the public outcry. Instead, he wanted a bridge that cost taxpayers nearly USD 4 billion to tribute to the Cuomo name.
The Assembly Pushes Back
Knowing their constituents were outraged emboldened certain New York state lawmakers to introduce bills to restore the Tappan Zee name to the bridge. In early 2018, Assemblyman Kevin Byrnes (R), supported by Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D), proposed a bill to restore the Tappan Zee name.
The Senate Gets on Board, Passes Bill
Then, Senate Bill S7671 was introduced and was passed in June of 2018, right before the 2018 NY state legislative session ended. The bill offered a reasonable, win-win compromise to both "sides."
Political Maneuvering Stops Assembly Bill
An identical bill was sponsored in the NY State Assembly, but it never made it to the floor in June, so the Assembly members could not vote on it before the session ended. No doubt due to former Gov. Cuomo and his cronies hard at work to thwart the public's desire to continue to glorify the Cuomo name over the Tappan Native American heritage. It has been said that if the bill had made it to the Assembly floor for a vote, it would have passed, and Tappan Zee would have been added to the bridge name. Andrew Cuomo would like this issue to disappear forever and is counting on all of us to lose interest and let him get away with it. We will not. We will continue to fight to right his wrong and keep the pressure on.
March 2021. Assemblyman Mike Lawler introduced Assembly Bill A6594 to change the Cuomo Bridge to the Tappan Zee Bridge. Write your Assembly representative about supporting this important bill.
August 2021. Senate Bill S7323 Introduced by Senator Mike Martucci. Write your NY State Senator about supporting this important bill. Also, write NY State Senate majority leader, Senator Andrea Steward-Cousins, pointing out the importance of supporting this bill. Follow this link for her contact information. Michael Gianaris is the deputy majority leader.
Click here to read why you should support the name change and call and write your NY State Senator and Assembly Representative today.