NEW YORK — Shortly after Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially opened the second span of the Hudson River Bridge, the governor's younger brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, took to social media to say their father would not have wanted the former Tappan Zee Bridge named after him.
"Pop would not have liked this," Chris Cuomo said of his father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. "He would’ve loved the new bridge...he was a big believer in updating infrastructure. But he was very humble and thought having something named after him sent the wrong message abt (sic) public service."
Mario Cuomo was New York's secretary of state from 1975 to 1978, before serving as lieutenant governor from 1979 to 1982, then governor from 1983 to 1994. He died in 2015.
Mario Cuomo believed public service was about the "we" not the "me," Chris Cuomo said in an Instagram post.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to rename the Tappan Zee Bridge after his father has caused uproar among some New Yorkers, and during last week's gubernatorial debate, his challenger Cynthia Nixon accused him of using it as publicity before Thursday's election.
The bridge's former name was officially the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge, and paid homage to several people, Chris Cuomo noted. "Malcolm Wilson" after New York's governor in 1973 and 1974, "Tappan" after an Indian tribe from the area and “zee” being the Dutch word for sea.
The first span of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, which connects Westchester and Rockland counties, opened last year.
The governor celebrated the opening of the second span with his mother, Mario Cuomo's widow, with a pre-ceremony ride in a restored 1932 Packard convertible owned by Franklin D. Roosevelt on Friday.
Mixed emotion day for your boy. #tappanzeebridge was taken down and a new bridge was built and named for my Pop. In case you don’t know, the old bridge it replaces was named after Gov Wilson. It had two names actually. The second was the common reference, “Tappan Zee”. Tappan after an Indian tribe from the area, and “zee”, the Dutch word for sea (even though it spans a river). Anyway, Pop would not have liked this. He would’ve loved the new bridge...he was a big believer in updating infrastructure. But he was very humble and thought having something named after him sent the wrong message abt public service: it is not supposed to be about the we not the me. I agree but people tell me I am wrong because it is good to remind of the people who made a difference and represent the right things. I see that point as well. And others who don’t like my brother as governor or didn’t like Pop or who like trump and think Pop was his opposite (and they are right from a personal perspective to be sure) oppose the naming and I get that too. When you grow up with a parent in politics you learn to mitigate the effect of criticism about them (or you wind up going to jail for crushing a nose :) So I am unusually objective about my father and brother. But most of all this morning for me is a mixed bag of pride and pain. Pride about Pop making a difference for people who needed help and the pain of knowing - if his name is up there, it reminds that he is not down here with me. And I still needed him, more than I was aware. Anyway – on a funny note, if you look at the picture you will see even traffic signs have political labels now (left)! This toxic tribalism is rampant :-) see you tonight. 9 PM Eastern. #Let’sGetAfterIt