For Dyker Heights resident Robert Nash, correcting the spelling of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge became an all-consuming mission. He wanted to honor the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano by having an extra “z” added to his name as it appears on signs and maps of the bridge.
Nash sought out state Senators Marty Golden and Andrew Lanza for their help, along with Assemblymember Michael Cusick. They were able to sponsor the needed legislation that was ultimately signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Oct. 11 of this year.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, Golden presented Nash with an official copy of the legislation correcting the spelling as signed by Cuomo, at a ceremony held at by the Brooklyn entrance to the Verrazzano.
Nash was thrilled to receive the “pen certificate” containing the pen Cuomo used to sign the bill into law.
“I felt that it was the right thing to do to make the correction since we knew that his name had been misspelled for all these years,” Nash told this paper.
Nash initially presented the proposal to correct the spelling as an online petition that sparked Golden to help sponsor the legislation.
“I am proud of Robert, who calls our community home and lives in Dyker Heights, and who founded the Italian-American Society at his alma mater Saint Francis College,” Golden said.
Golden called the bridge “an architectural gem and one of New York’s landmarks.” He also noted that “Italian-American historians are quick to explain that the spelling applies only to the bridge and is believed to be a typographical error that stuck.”
He added that the entrance signs to both sides of the bridge will be changed immediately with other signs corrected as needed depending on wear and tear. He also called it one of the most expensive bridges in the country and pledged that he would pursue a future petition to lower the cost of the bridge tolls.
Interestingly, Nash’s grandfather was a builder who worked on the bridge that opened more than 50 years ago on Nov. 21, 1964.