Ed Koch, New York’s Old Faithful, Gets a Bridge

But will anyone stop calling it the Queensboro?


Dear Ed Koch:

Congratulations on having the Queensboro Bridge named after you!

Some New Yorkers think we should let well enough alone — that is, continue to call it the Queensboro Bridge. Others like the idea.

But as you just pointed out to me: “Back in 1931, when it was being constructed, the Port Authority decided to change the name of the Hudson River Bridge to the Washington Bridge and there was an uproar on both sides of the Hudson. The Authority decided to put it to a vote and New Yorkers and New Jerseyites voted overwhelmingly NOT to name the bridge after Washington! So who am I to expect to do better than Washington?”

It’s an old, gritty looking bridge.  Some might even call it ugly. So why name it after you? Well, you’re certainly gritty and let's just say you're no John Lindsay. I’ve covered nine mayors and I wouldn’t say you were the handsomest -- is that a word? -- but you weren't the ugliest either.

But there was something about your personality that stuck with all of us. We could call the Queensboro the How’m I Doin’ Bridge in honor of your favorite saying. Or we could call it Old Faithful in honor of its faithful service to New York. Old Faithful is the name of the geyser that erupts every couple of hours in Yellowstone National Park. You erupted regularly too, especially when you got indignant. And you served New York faithfully.  So your name is certainly not a bad replacement.     

Of course, in your case and in mine, they can call us old geysers -- and we shouldn’t be too insulted as long as we’re still alive and kicking. I can just imagine the day, sometime in the future, when one New Yorker says to another:  “You can get to my house by going over the Ed Koch Bridge and then getting on Astoria Boulevard, etc.” 

Knowing New Yorkers as you do, you undoubtedly understand that this may not happen, that we’ll keep calling it the Queensboro and not the Ed Koch. As far as I can judge we still call the "RFK Bridge" the Triboro. And, despite Fiorello La Guardia’s best effort, we still call it Sixth Avenue, not Avenue of the Americas.

New Yorkers are a stubborn lot. And you oughta know. You’ve always been as stubborn as they come. The bridge will be out there for years, a stubborn symbol of a stubborn man.


Gabe Pressman

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