Saturday, July 1, 2017

Tappan Zee

I like bridges.

Probably more than I should. The average bridge is completely utilitarian but some bridges, well they are amazing and beautiful feats of engineering. I've almost missed exits looking at bridges.

Until recently, people had been calling the currently under construction replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge "The New New York Bridge." I'm not not saying that is a horrible name for a bridge. With 20/20 hindsight I think the New New York name was a pre-set to a name change. Kind of like telling a kid they have 10 more minutes before you leave.

Recently, the New York State Legislature came back for some kind of special session to finish up stuff they didn't get to finish before they decided to take a vacation. One of the things they finalized in this special session was the obviously urgent renaming the of Tappan Zee Bridge to the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.

As far as I know, the only person that likes the name is the governor. I haven't heard any positive reaction to the new name. It's just another example of government representatives ignoring their constituents. I get that the governor wants to memorialize his dad (and maybe also wants his name on the bridge as well). My dad passed away too and I bet there would be more enthusiasm if the bridge was just named The Ed after him.

"It's the third exit after you cross The Ed."

The other thing, and there is some irony here, is the history of the Tappan Zee. Do you know why the Tappan Zee Bridge is located where it is? It's 3 miles long (there are places where the bridge could be much shorter) and the ground is complete sludge (there are places where you could easily hit rock).

The bridge is located at that wide, sludgy spot because of political bullshit. The Port Authority controls a 25 mile circle centered at the Statue of Liberty. If the Tappan Zee Bridge was built in that circle, the Port Authority would have gotten the toll money instead of the Thruway Authority. The location of the Tappan Zee bridge is basically as close as you can get to New York City and be out of the Port Authority's reach. It sounds like fiction, but it's true.

So our governor just named a bridge that is essentially a completely overpriced monument to a lack of political compromise after his father. I wonder if he knows.

Doesn't matter. Everyone is still going to call it the Tappan Zee anyway. Just ask the Twin Bridges.

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