Do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall?
“Why yes. From Brooklyn, you can take the Hugh Carey Tunnel, from the Bronx the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and from Queens you go over the Ed Koch.”
“From New Jersey you can grab the Elliott Spitzer Freeway, then cut to the Dick Cheney Bypass.”
Ok, that last sentence is a joke–for now. But unfortunately, the rest is real.
As unemployment runs rampant, the MTA raises fares on mass transit and we are now being charged hundreds of dollars to be rescued if we have a car accident, our pandering leaders believe this is a good time to spend millions of dollars on ego trips for politicans and their families.
When the Triborough Bridge was renamed the Robert F. Kennedy, it cost $4 million to change the signs. It’s been two years. Do you know a single person who calls it the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge?
What we appreciated about the Triborough, the Queensboro/59th Street Bridge and Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is that they told us exactly where we were going while saluting the city.
It seems the first bridge built to so help guide us was the Outerbridge Crossing, which connects Staten Island and New Jersey on the very outermost limits of New York City. But things aren’t always as they seem.
In fact, the bridge honors Eugenius Outerbridge, the first chairman of the Port of New York. I’m not making this up.
Since then, the Bruckner and van Wyck Expressways were also named after local politicians, but most of the other river crossings kept the utilitarian names with the primary objective of serving the public’s needs.
But just like our aging infrastruture, that concept is beginning to crumble.
I understand how giddy Ed Koch feels to have a major NYC bridge dedicated in his name, but he is also well aware of the hard times the city is going through. Couldn’t he have told Mayor Bloomberg, rushing to rename the Queensboro/59th Street Bridge in Koch’s honor “slow down, you’re moving too fast?”
Fat chance. “No one else has a bridge like this,” Koch bragged to The New York Times. “Only me.”
Bloomberg, lame duck Governor Patterson and other local politicans are leading the parade in championing these name changes. Hey, maybe someday a bridge will be named after them!
Meanwhile, it’s no accident that the major bridge crossings into Manhattan remain free, while the Verrazano to Staten Island has jumped to an obscene $13 each way. Where do the leading NY politicians live and spend most of their time? Who do they associate with? Bingo.
And have they noticed that the free Brooklyn Bridge is usually backed up with traffic, while the $5.50 each way Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (oops, the Hugh Carey) is always empty? Might it occur to them to charge $2.50 to cross each, thus easing traffic congestion?
Do you disagree with this? Fair enough. Let’s meet at the foot of Father Duffy Square to discuss it. Where’s that? You just head up the Avenue of the Americas and make a left…
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