NYS Senate Passes Bill To Name New NY Bridge For Purple Heart Recipients

May 25, 2017

A bill that would name the new Tappan Zee Bridge in honor of veterans has passed the New York state Senate. The bill’s sponsor is from the Hudson Valley and a veteran himself.

Republican Senator Bill Larkin says his legislation designating “The Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge” as “The Purple Heart Memorial Bridge” passed on Wednesday.

“The new bridge will be called the Purple Heart. We’re not infringing on anybody’s right,” Larkin says. “We’ve done everything and that was to get, consider opinions of all the veterans groups, and every one of them have sent me messages that said please name the new bridge ‘The Purple Heart Memorial Bridge.’”

The $3.98 billion New NY Bridge to replace the Tappan Zee is on budget and on schedule to be fully opened in 2018. Larkin’s bill has two co-sponsors, also from the Hudson Valley, Republicans John Bonacic and Terrence Murphy. Democrat Sandy Galef sponsors the bill in the Assembly where it is in the Transportation Committee.

“We often don’t take a name off a bridge when it’s been designated. It is the Malcolm Wilson Bridge,” Galef says. “So I don’t know what the feeling is right now with the committee, but I’ll have to check it out.”

She says previous discussion has included that the new bridge, which is being constructed alongside the current Tappan Zee, essentially is the same crossing between Rockland and Westchester Counties, and thus already has been named.

“And, actually, this bridge is two bridges,” Galef says. “So you could actually have one name going one way and one name the other, too.”

There is a space between the two spans. Larkin, who retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel from the Army after 23 years of service, led national campaigns to establish the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor and the Purple Heart Forever stamp. He says there are nearly two million Purple Heart recipients across the nation and with more than 140,000 vehicles crossing the Tappan Zee daily, naming the new bridge The Purple Heart Memorial Bridge would be an appropriate honor. And he responds to talk about naming the bridge for former New York Governor Mario Cuomo.

“You know, there’s a lot of bridges in this state. There’s bridges in Queens where he was born and raised. But this is something to state our position on the Purple Heart. It has nothing to do negative about Governor Cuomo at all,” says Larkin. “What we’re trying to do is to let everybody know that we New Yorkers appreciate those individuals who gave something for their country.” 

Here’s Galef on naming the bridge for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s father.

“Well, I always thought that that was a possibility given that this governor has been the mover and the shaker on getting this bridge going,” says Galef. “So  that’s certainly an option also.”

And while Galef supports The Purple Heart Memorial Bridge designation, she is uncertain whether she would support naming the new bridge for former Governor Mario Cuomo.

“And if the governor was really in favor of it being named for his father,  I think he’d probably have enough clout to get that done,” says Galef.

The Assembly bill has a few co- and multi-sponsors. On the New NY Bridge web site, under “Frequently Asked Questions,” there is the following answer about renaming the bridge. “While there have been many renaming suggestions from the public since construction began, at this time there are no plans to remove the historic “Tappan Zee” moniker.”

Some names affiliated with the Tappan Zee Bridge have been decided. Local students began submitting names shortly after the hatching of two young falcons in the Tappan Zee Bridge’s nest box in April. The winning names are Puente and Tarrytalon. Puente means bridge in Spanish and Tarrytalon is a take on Tarrytown, on the Westchester side of the bridge. The runners up were Flappin Zee and Jimmy Falcon.