After 50 years of having his name misspelled on signs throughout Brooklyn and Staten Island, not to mention the United States’ longest suspension bridge, Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazzano can finally rest easy. On Monday, Gov. Cuomo signed a bill ending years of attempts to correct the matter.
“The Verrazzano Bridge is a vital transportation artery for millions of Staten Island and Brooklyn residents,” Cuomo said in a statement.” We are correcting this decades-old misspelling out of respect to the legacy of the explorer and to New York’s heritage.”
The bill was originally co-sponsored in the Senate by state Sen. Marty Golden and Staten Island Senator Andrew Lanza and in the State Assembly by Assemblymember Michael Cusick.
Verrazzano is credited with discovering New York Harbor which the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge now spans.
“Unfortunately, the name of this historic bridge has been spelled incorrectly for several decades and out of respect for his contributions to our land, this needed to be made right,” Golden told this paper. “I thank Gov. Andrew Cuomo for signing this bill into law as we have finally corrected a part of our history.”
The bridge, which opened in 1964, remains the longest suspension bridge in the country. The misspelling occurred when initial plans for the bridge were put through.
However, another Republican Assemblymember, Nicole Malliotakis, who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, is among those who initially raised concerns about the cost of correcting the spelling.
The MTA initially anticipated that it would cost roughly $350,000 to replace 96 signs of different sizes between Staten Island and Brooklyn. That figure has since been amended and the price tag is now closer to $200,000 to $250,000.
“This change is important to Italian-Americans on both sides of the bridge,” Malliotakis told this paper. “While I initially opposed due to cost concerns, I supported the final version because it was amended to make clear that signs will be replaced with regular repair and maintenance, not at an additional cost to MTA fare and toll-payers.”