Tap­pan Zee For­ever

New York Post - - POST OPINION -

Res­i­dents in the city’s north­ern sub­urbs are up in arms over the dead-of-night move that robbed them of a lo­cal land­mark’s his­toric and dis­tinc­tive name. Nearly 55,000 peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion ask­ing the Leg­is­la­ture to re­store the name Tap­pan Zee to the new bridge now named for Gov. Cuomo’s fa­ther and pre­de­ces­sor, Mario Cuomo.

They have a point. Not least be­cause, as the pe­ti­tion notes, “It sounds cool to say, ‘I’m tak­ing the Tap­pan Zee.’ It does not sound cool to say, ‘I’m tak­ing the Cuomo.’ ”

(Or, given its rush-hour traf­fic, me­an­der­ing on the Mario.)

Plus, as ac­tivists also point out, the orig­i­nal name hon­ored the re­gion’s found­ing set­tlers, the Tap­pan In­di­ans and the Dutch.

But the real out­rage is over the way the re­nam­ing was done: at 1 a.m., just hours be­fore the close of the leg­isla­tive ses­sion, and stuck in the mid­dle of a com­pletely un­re­lated 72page bill. All with­out the slight­est bit of pub- lic in­put. And not even named for a fig­ure from the area near the bridge but for a guy from Queens.

The old span, by the way, also of­fi­cially car­ried the name of for­mer Gov. Mal­colm Wil­son, a Repub­li­can, and the pe­ti­tion or­ga­nizer is also a Repub­li­can. So Cuomo dis­misses the crit­i­cism as “par­ti­san.” But that’s silly.

True, as we’ve noted be­fore, given the mys­te­ri­ous cre­ative fi­nanc­ing used to build the new $3.9 bil­lion bridge, maybe nam­ing it af­ter Mario Cuomo, who once bal­anced a bud­get by sell­ing off an up­state prison and then leas­ing it back, isn’t so in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

But if nam­ing the bridge for his late fa­ther was such a pop­u­lar move, Cuomo wouldn’t have had to sneak it through the Leg­is­la­ture while no one was look­ing.

Here’s the bot­tom line: The Tap­pan Zee Bridge is one of New York’s most unique and rec­og­niz­able names — an in­sti­tu­tion filled with his­tory and mean­ing. What a shame to lose it just to honor an­other pol.

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