The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday began correcting a mistake more than half a century old, replacing signs at the bridge connecting Brooklyn and Staten Island from the erroneous “Verrazano” to the correct “Verrazzano.”
The then-titled Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened in 1964, named for Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who explored New York Harbor in 1524. The bridge name was mistakenly spelled with one “z,” and it was never changed, at least partly due to the expense: When the Triborough Bridge was renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in 2008, replacing the road signs cost over $4 million.
Robert Nash, an Italian-American student at Brooklyn College, started a petition drive in 2016 to correct the bridge’s spelling. The legislature approved the name change to “Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge” and it was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2018.
To minimize costs, the MTA is replacing the signs on its property gradually, under normal schedule of maintenance, rather than replacing them all at once.
The crews Wednesday replaced a sign at 92nd Street near Fort Hamilton Parkway in Brooklyn, that points to an entrance ramp to the bridge.
The bridge was the longest suspension span in the world when it opened, and it is still the longest suspension span in the U.S. Nearly 70 million vehicles cross it annually.