Hugh-ge honor! Battery Tunnel to be renamed for former governor and Brooklyn legend

The Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel is about to be renamed for Hugh Carey — the Park Slope congressman who achieved his greatest fame as the governor who saved New York from fiscal ruin.

Gov. Paterson is expected to sign legislation passed this week in Albany authorizing the renaming, hailing Carey as a leader who “laid the foundation for New York City’s revitalization, and for the development of Lower Manhattan and the outer boroughs that accompanied it.”

“It is fitting that his crucial artery to the life of the city is named in his honor,” Paterson wrote in support of the bill.

Carey, now 91-years-old, lived in Bay Ridge and Park Slope, and served as governor from 1975 to 1982.

It is not clear how much it will cost to change all the signs leading to the tunnel, but two years ago, it cost the state $4 million to adequately inform drivers that the Triboro Bridge had been renamed for Robert F. Kennedy.

State lawmakers heaped praised on Carey, calling the renaming well deserved.

“He brought us back from very difficult times,” said state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), who enjoyed Carey’s support when he running for office in 2002. “He’s a good man.”

The tunnel, whose mouth is near Hamilton Avenue, connects Red Hook to Lower Manhattan.

Some historians wondered if it is too soon to rename the tube after Carey.

“I like the idea of naming things after people who are a little more in the past,” said New York historian Francis Marrone. “There are a lot of notable people who have nothing named after them — like Andrew Haswell Green and James Stranahan, builders of New York.”

Still, Morrone, who described himself as a great admirer of Carey, was supportive of the renaming.

“Names like Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel are a little dull, so I think it is a good idea,” he said.

It’s not the first time that Carey has been close to immortality.

In 2008, Congress took up a bill to rename the new federal courthouse on Cadman Plaza for the only Brooklynite to be elected governor. But in a last-minute maneuver, Sen. Charles Schumer got the building named for Theodore Roosevelt, a Manhattanite who later became president.

The city is on a renaming binge right now. On the same day that the news broke about the Carey tunnel, Mayor Bloomberg announced that he wants to rename the Queensboro Bridge after Ed Koch.

Carey was active in politics as recently as Elliot Spitzer's run for governor in 2006.
The Brooklyn Paper / Dana Rubinstein

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