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City red-faced after naming Brooklyn Bridge’s paint after hated Queens

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The city has put the brakes on a plan to paint the Brooklyn Bridge a color named after the borough of Queens — and you can thank us!

Last week, we noticed that the Department of Transportation planned to give the historic span a fresh coat of “Queensboro­ugh Tan,” a particularly odd name that both galled and puzzled bridge aficionados, considering the iconic span predates the borough of Queens by 14 years.

But on Friday, the egregious, borough-offending mistake was officially corrected.

“The incorrect name [was] the result of a clerical error [and] has been updated,” the agency stated.

The official color of the bridge will be “Brooklyn Bridge Tan.”

But the agency might still find itself red-faced — despite the fix.

Yes, the agency’s Web site now reads that the bridge will be “restored to its original Brooklyn Bridge Tan.” But accounts detailing the bridge’s color say that the original hue was, in fact, “Rawlins Red” — hardly tan at all.

At press time, the agency did not respond to an inquiry about that shading, which was a pigment that contained a mineral, iron oxide, that was unearthed from a mine near Rawlins, Wyoming, according to the Wyoming Almanac.

The new tan color of the bridge was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The agency’s counsel, Mark Silberman, said he was unsure about the original coat, and the origin of the moniker miscue.

“The commission approved ‘Brooklyn Bridge Tan,’” he insisted, even citing the federal specification number for the job, which will be paid for in part with federal stimulus money, and requires the agency’s approval because of its landmark status.

“I’m not sure where ‘Queensboro­ugh Tan’ came from,” he added.

What’s in a name? Even that is unclear. When we asked the city to describe the “Brooklyn Bridge Tan” color, a Department of Transportation spokesman said that the city wouldn’t even know the exact specifications for the hue until the manufacturer presents officials with the paint chips.

In other words, no one — not even the officials in the agencies that have approved it — knows exactly what “Brooklyn Bridge Tan” will look like.

The good news, of course, is that the color of the Brooklyn Bridge will no longer be named after Queens, said Borough President Markowitz.

“In Brooklyn, we have better things to do than watch paint dry, but with that said, I naturally believe that our better known and iconic Brooklyn Bridge deserves its own, hip hue. May I suggest ‘Brooklyn Bridge Bronze’ or perhaps ‘Kings County Khaki’?”

Tan-gate will likely be the least of the headaches that arise from the $500-million, four-year rehab of the 126-year-old span. Starting in June, the agency is expecting to close the bridge’s Manhattan-bound lanes during at least 24 weekends and many weeknights, funneling an armada of cars and trucks to the nearest alternative, the Manhattan Bridge.

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Reader Feedback

Queens Crapper from Queens says:
Why do you hate Queens?
May 4, 2010, 8 am
John from North America says:
Because there's no there there. And because of Catherine Braganza.
May 4, 2010, 10:11 am
sundell larsen from Rawlins Wyoming says:
My family had the mine that made the paint those many years ago in Wyoming. My Great grandparents emigrated from Denmark and met each other in Wyoming. They were from the same town in Denmark!
May 4, 2010, 12:32 pm
Joey Bots from Botsville says:
Queena is hated because it is home of the Mets!!!
May 4, 2010, 12:34 pm
Seeley from Windsor Terrace says:
Hey, nice story. Paint labeling. Very compelling. Now how about that murder on 20th Street in Windsor Terrace earlier this month? Any interest in covering that?
May 4, 2010, 4:01 pm
Queens Crapper from Queens says:
Catherine Braganza had nothing to do with Queens.

And there's plenty of there here. Please stay there so we can keep it here.
May 4, 2010, 4:29 pm
Dave from Clinton Hill says:
Queens is awesome, relax people!
May 4, 2010, 8:38 pm
Paul from Park Slope says:
So the latest Atlantic Yards flubs aren't worth reporting? Did that come down from Murdoch or Ratner?
May 4, 2010, 9:33 pm
Susan from Park Slope says:
Joey Bots, I HATE the Bronx!!! Big Time..... Oh yeah I hate the Stankees too!!!!
May 5, 2010, 1:20 pm
Noelle from South Jamaica says:
Now, the "hated Queens" part just wasn't necessary, was it? Queens doesn't hate on BK. Why you gotta instigate like that?
May 5, 2010, 1:24 pm
Scott from Brooklyn Heights says:
You forgot to tag Queens as "a neighboring borough."
May 6, 2010, 12:32 am

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