Motorists will soon be taking Ed Koch to midtown.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to rename the Queensboro Bridge after the iconic former mayor of New York City in December, and the City Council voted their approval on Wednesday, March 23.
The City Council voted 38-12 in favor of renaming of the 101-year-old bridge, which crosses the East River from Long Island City to 59th Street in Manhattan.
Koch, who celebrated his 86th birthday in December, served three terms as mayor of the city from 1978 to 1989 during times of both prosperity and struggles with crime and homelessness. Prior to his time as mayor, Koch served as a New York Congressmember; the Queensboro Bridge crosses over into the district he represented.
Several Queens lawmakers have spoke out against the name change, including members of the City Council from the district. Councilmembers Peter Vallone, Jr., Jimmy Van Bramer and Dan Halloran all voiced their preference to keep the bridge’s current, Queens-centric name.
“Brooklyn has the Brooklyn Bridge. Manhattan has the Manhattan Bridge. Queens has, and should always have, the Queensboro Bridge,” said Halloran. “This bridge is an icon of a borough that is all too often ignored and marginalized. To change its name would be an eternal slap in the face of Queens.”
Borough President Helen Marshall said that while Koch was a great mayor, she wasn’t sure if renaming the Queensboro Bridge in his honor was appropriate.
“I haven’t found one person who thinks this is a good idea,” said Marshall. “I think a lot of people have good feelings about the former mayor, but renaming a bridge is another story.”
Residents of Queens have also voiced displeasure over the name change starting dedicated Facebook pages and online petitions attempting to prevent the name change. Almost 1,000 people had signed the online petition and according to a Quinnipiac University Poll 64 percent of New York City voters were against the name change with the strongest opposition coming in Queens where 70 percent were against the change.
The bridge should officially be renamed the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge next month, according to reports. – Additional reporting by Billy Rennison