|Print this story||Permalink|
Despite disapproval from a large number of Queensites, the members of the New York City Council overwhelmingly voted 38-12 Wednesday to rename the Queensboro Bridge the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge after the City’s 105th mayor.
The name change was done through a Local Law proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a Dec. 8 birthday party for Koch at the Gracie Mansion. Koch turned 86 on Dec. 12. Bloomberg suggested the name change to honor Koch’s work in rehabilitating the bridge during his time as mayor, when he created the Bureau of Bridges in the city Department of Transportation.
“He literally saved this bridge and began the process of reinvesting in then-crumbling bridges across the city,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
The decision has not been popular in Queens, which the bridge connects to Manhattan via Queens Plaza in Long Island City and 59th Street in Manhattan, giving the bridge the colloquial name of the 59th Street Bridge across the East River. A Quinnipiac University poll released last Friday 18 revealed 70 percent of Queens residents voting opposed renaming the bridge, as did 64 percent of residents voting across the city.
City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) protested the name change in February, saying while Koch was deserving of the honor, the current name was linked to the borough’s culture.
“The city would not rename the Brooklyn Bridge and the Queensboro Bridge should be treated equally,” Vallone said in a statement.
Nevertheless, most of the city’s 15 councilmembers with districts in Queens voted for the change. Those who voted against it included Vallone, Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), whose district includes the bridge area.
“I greatly admire Mayor Koch, and I believe he deserves tribute. But leave my borough’s bridge alone,” Halloran said in a statement.
Halloran also protested the money that would be spent to change the signs. Bloomberg previously said it would come out of the privately-financed Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.
However, City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) spoke in favor of the change, saying he made the decision after hearing the testimony of former Borough President Claire Schulman and Robert Tierney, chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, in favor of the change. Dromm said Tierney claimed the new name would enhance the bridge’s history.
“After much soul searching, and recognizing that the bridge is also already known colloquially as the 59th Street Bridge, I have decided to vote in favor of the compromise name of ‘Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge’ which protects the bridge’s legacy and also recognizes Koch’s contributions to our great borough and city,” Dromm said in a statement.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
|Print this story||Permalink|
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.