What’s in a Name?

Last week I had the opportunity to meet with “Save Our Tappan Zee” activist Monroe Mann before he delivered his change.org petition, with approximately 110,000 signatures, to Governor Andrew Cuomo in Albany. Let me be clear; I fully support the effort to retain “Tappan Zee” as part of the name of the bridge spanning the Hudson River between Rockland and Westchester counties.

There is currently legislation in Albany, New York State Senate bill S7671 and New York State Assembly bill A8914A, that I urge our local state representatives to co-sponsor and support. These bills would restore the “Tappan Zee” name back to our bridge whose complete name would then be the “Governor Mario M. Cuomo Tappan Zee Bridge.”

This is a viable compromise to what has become both embarrassing and insulting to the lower Hudson Valley. This common-sense solution will help restore the tradition and history of our area by honoring the Tappan Native Americans who resided here as well as the early Dutch settlers. In a time when so much of the world around us is changing it is so important that we retain a true sense of our history; these bills will help us do exactly that.

Governor Cuomo’s father renamed the bridge, back in 1994, the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge. He recognized that history was important and not to rip the name out of the bridge. I’m asking Governor Cuomo to do the same thing. I’m asking him to do exactly what his dad would do. I can think of no greater tribute to pay to his father than to understand exactly what the impact and import of this renaming that was done in the dead of night has done to the people of this region. And what better way to honor a father’s memory than by emulating him.

While some of our local representatives have said they will support these bills if they come to the floor that is not enough! The fact of the matter is, if you support something, put our name on it. It also tells your colleagues that you support it. A representative from Buffalo is not going to be very impressed with a bill that does not have local representation sponsorship.

It is high time that Governor Cuomo and our local state representatives embrace this sensible compromise. Not only will you help our region retain a key part of our heritage, but you will also save the state millions of taxpayer dollars from not having to change the Tappan Zee signs located all around New York.

About the Author
Ed Day, the current Rockland County Executive, has resided in Rockland for over 30 years and raised his family here. His varied non-political background includes executive professional experience in law enforcement and the private sector; civic experience including being past president of the Little Tor Neighborhood Association and 20 years of coaching young people; and extensive school and youth advocacy that includes being a PTA Life Award winner.

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