For some New York lawmakers, having the Cuomo name on a local landmark is a bridge too far.
As part of the fallout from Gov. Andrew’s Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal and resignation, there is a renewed push to restore the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge over the Hudson River to its original name: The Tappan Zee Bridge.
The current bridge – newly built and opened in 2017 – replaced the old Tappan Zee, which spanned three miles over the river for nearly forty years, connecting Nyack in Rockalnd County with Tarrytown in Westchester County. But now, State Assemblymember Mike Lawler is leading the charge to do away with the ties to the Cuomo name and the state’s 52nd governor, due in large part to the alleged actions by the state’s 56th governor.
"Given the Governor’s conduct, he has disgraced his family’s name, he has left a stain on New York State and it’s time to turn the page,” said Lawler. “We as New Yorkers and residents of the Hudson Valley would like to see it reverted back to the Tappan Zee name so that it better reflects the heritage of this region.”
Both he and New York State Senator Mike Martucci support going back to the original name, as Martucci said the name change was done hastily and sneakily anyways.
"This was done in the dark of the night, in the 2017 budget, with absolutely no public input," he said.
The measure was initially introduced in the Assembly in march, with a matching bill in the State Senate. Both lawmakers called for action on Thursday, citing Cuomo's sexual harassment scandal. The idea appears to have some support among those who live in the area.
"I would rather go back to the original name just to honor our Indians of the area," said Carmen Brown, of Nanuet. "I just thought why didn’t they just follow the precedent, they could dedicate the bridge but keep it Tappan Zee without this whole ripple effect."
Another woman said she would’ve preferred had it never been changed in the first place.
To be sure, the debate started long before Cuomo's downfall. In 2017, a Part Chester resident launched a petition to keep the Tappan Zee name. That petition now have 170,000 signatures.
"Tappan Zee was a Dutch and Indian name that both Democrats & Republicans could really get behind … The Tappan Indians and the Dutch had a far greater impact on the founding and development of New York State than you or your father,” said Monroe Mann said of the Cuomo family. "If they wanna keep Mario Cuomo’s name on it, fine. But it’s gotta be the way it was before: the Mario Cuomo-Tappan Zee Bridge."
Combining the name didn’t seem to make sense to some.
"As a hybrid? I don’t think the name would stay in the signs, there are too many letters," said Nanuet’s Janet Weber.
The bill to change the name is now in the state Assembly, and the state Senate.