Last August Governor Andrew Cuomo forced through legislation renaming the bridge that connects Tarrytown and South Nyack after his own father and removing the historic name “Tappan Zee” – a reference to the Dutch and Native Americans who lived in the area hundreds of years ago.
The perceived act of vanity, media reports of his obsession with having the bridge named after his dad and the backroom nature of the deal caused considerable public outrage. Many promises were made by citizens and institutions – including the Rockland County Times – to ignore the change.
Ten months later, nearly 109,000 signatures opposing the new name have been recorded on a petition on www.change.org. The movement asking lawmakers to stop Governor Cuomo’s has only grown stronger, now officially incorporated as the “Save Our Tappan Zee, Inc.” non-profit foundation and lawmakers in both state houses have introduced legislation to modify the proposed new name to include both Gov. Cuomo’s father and the historic Tappan Zee monicker.
Among those leading the charge of this movement has been the Rockland County Times own “ombudsman,” Dr. Louis Alpert, who lobbied the Town of Orangetown and other local governments to pass a resolution supporting the law to retain the Tappan Zee name. Assemblymembers Ken Zebrowski and Ellen Jaffee have come around to support the compromise bill, as well as Senator David Carlucci, who said, “If this bill comes to the floor for a vote I will support it.”
The efforts of historical societies, average citizens and the non-profit “Save Our Tappan Zee, Inc.” will come to their fruition on Thursday when the petition with 109,000 signatures is delivered to Governor Cuomo’s doorstep.
The petition’s message is:
“Return the Tappan Zee name to OUR bridge. The bridge was re-named the Mario M Cuomo Bridge in 2017 without public input. Senate bill 7671 (currently awaiting vote on the Senate floor) and its companion bill in the Assembly, 8914, propose a compromise: The Mario M. Cuomo / Tappan Zee Bridge. The bills require that current signs not be changed. Governor: Won’t you support a compromise?”
The Rockland County Times will follow the trail of the “Save Tappan Zee” activists on Thursday and see if this movement gains any furthur traction while in Albany.