In the year and a half since former Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned following sexual misconduct allegations, some residents have remembered their disdain for the new name of the bridge that connects Rockland and Westchester counties. If passed, a new bipartisan bill could revert the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge back to the Tappan Zee Bridge, which honors the Hudson Valley’s Indigenous and Dutch origins.
Democratic State Senator for the Hudson Valley region James Skoufis introduced the bill on February 21. (As of this article’s publication, the proposed measure is in the Senate Transportation Committee for consideration.) Four Republican state senators have co-sponsored the bill. After receiving various complaints about the bridge’s name to his office, Skoufis agreed to re-introduce the proposed legislation that former Republican State Senator Mike Martucci wrote for the 2021–2022 session. Martucci’s legislation did not gain enough support to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote last year.
Emma Fuentes, communications director for Skoufis’s office, told Hyperallergic that the original name change struck the senators’ constituents as “more of the same ego-driven backroom dealing they’d become accustomed to with our former Governor.”
When the previous 60-year-old structure was demolished in 2017, Governor Cuomo changed the moniker to honor Mario M. Cuomo, the 52nd governor of New York and Andrew Cuomo’s father. In 2018, the bridge, which cost $4 million to design, opened with its new name. Before the change, the full name had been the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge, more commonly called the Tappan Zee Bridge. “Tappan” is the name of the Lenape people who lived in the region when the Dutch colonized New York in the 17th century, while “Zee” is a Dutch word for sea. This portion of the Hudson River is still called the Tappan Zee or Tappan Sea.
“Our former Governor jammed this change down the throat of the Legislature and the entire Hudson Valley,” said Skoufis in a statement shared with Hyperallergic.
Governor Hochul has not yet given an opinion on the proposed legislation, saying she’ll consider the bill if it passes.