Senate Passes Bill to Correct Spelling of Verrazano Bridge

ALBANY (AP) -
Verrazano, Verrazzano
A road sign indicating an entrance to the erroneously spelled Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

The political gridlock in a battle to fix the spelling of New York City’s Verrazano-Narrows Bridge has eased slightly.

The state Senate has passed a bill that would change the spelling of North America’s longest suspension bridge, which has been wrong for over 50 years. The Assembly version was stuck in committee when the legislative session ended late Wednesday.

The bridge name is spelled with one “z,” but it should have two, as it is named for the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who discovered New York Harbor in 1524.

Verrazano, Verrazzano
An aerial view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Robert Nash, a student at Brooklyn College, started a petition drive in 2016 to correct the spelling.

“This is a travesty,”  Nash said at the time. “To honor a man and name a bridge after him and not spell his name right?!”

Nash, whose mother is Italian and father half-Italian, said Italian Americans everywhere deserve better. “We were always proud of being of Italian descent, and this rich culture shaped who I am.”

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials initially balked at a name change, saying that it can cost millions to change all the signs, brochures, maps and websites. For example, changing the name of New York’s Triborough Bridge to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in 2008 reportedly cost the state $4 million.

A statue of Verrazzano in lower Manhattan and a bridge named for him over Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay have the correct spelling.