Besides sponsoring a bill in the State Senate that would offer some toll relief at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge for Brooklyn residents, State Sen. Marty Golden is also sponsoring legislation that seeks to correct the spelling of the Verrazano by adding the extra “z” back to the explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano’s name — a move that has some people crying foul.
“This legislation will ensure the bridge is both named and spelled properly in honor of Giovanni de Verrazzano,” Golden said. “The explorer is credited with discovering the New York Harbor which the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge now spans, and correcting this error is long overdue.”
The Verrazano Narrows Bridge connecting Brooklyn and Staten Island opened in 1964 and remains the longest suspension bridge in the country. The misspelling occurred when initial plans for the bridge were put through.
The bill was co-sponsored in the Senate by Staten Island State Senator Andrew Lanza and in the State Assembly by Assemblymember Michael Cusick.
However, another Republican Assemblymember, Nicole Malliotakis, who also represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, is among those who has voiced concern regarding the cost of correcting the spelling.
The MTA anticipates that it would cost roughly $350,000 to replace 96 signs of different sizes between Staten Island and Brooklyn.
According to a report in the Staten Island Advance, Malliotakis fears the total cost, including New York City and state Department Transportation signs, would be $1 million or more. She told the Advance that if the bill stated that the signs would be replaced with the correct spelling only once they are in need of replacement, she would consider voting for it.
City Councilmember Justin Brannan, a Democrat, is not buying the bridge.
“I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry,” Brannan told this paper. “Of course, Giovanni da Verrazzano’s name should be spelled correctly on the bridge that bears his name but when I think of the Verrazano Bridge, the first thing I think of is that $17 toll and how that should be fixed.”
Toll relief, Brannan stressed, is “A little bit more important than playing Wheel of Fortune. I also think it’s telling that with so much dysfunction and gridlock in Albany, that of all things this is what gets bipartisan support.”