To the letter! Petition to add second Z to Verrazano bridge

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Can’t they spell?

A Dyker Heights activist is demanding the Metropolitan Transportation Authority tack another Z onto the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge so it matches namesake Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano. Every day that the Florentine explorer’s misspelled cognome hangs on roadway signs is a travesty, and now its time to do something about it, the 21-year-old activist said.

“It’s been 52 years we’ve been spelling it wrong,” said Robert Nash, who founded the Italian-American Society at his alma mater Saint Francis University. “If we’re really going to honor him — and his name has two Zs — then its time.

Nash started a petition that garnered 58 names — including 23 Brooklynites — calling on the authority, which maintains the massive span, to fix the spelling.

But the agency has no plans to add the missing letter — particularly because changing signs on expressways leading to the bridge would be costly, time-consuming, and create traffic, a spokesman said.

The state spent $4 million to replace 139 signs leading to the Triborough Bridge when the it renamed the span the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in 2008, according to a New York Times report.

Nash admitted the push is an uphill battle, but he’s looking for support from New York’s Italian-American electeds — Gov. Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio (formerly Warren Wilhelm, Jr.), he said.

“We have a governor, Andrew Cuomo, who claims to be Italian-American, and Mayor DeBlasio — now’s the time that we could possibly get some type of a political movement going with petitions,” he said.

The misspelling’s origins are murky.

Master urban planner Robert Moses famously opposed the name because he said Verrazzano was a historical footnote with a tough-to-pronounce name, but a push from the Italian Historical Society of America and support from then-Gov. Nelson Rockefeller sealed the deal. The single-z spelling was a typographical error that stuck, according to the Staten Island Advance. The website for the Italian Historical Society of America, which advocated naming the bridge after Verrazzano, exclusively refers to the span using the double-z spelling.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

MJ from Bay Ridge says:
Z is for sleepy drivers.. Zzz.
June 6, 2016, 7:21 am
HONEY from Williamsburg says:
How dare they ignore the wishes of 58 people!!?? This is an outrage!!!!
June 6, 2016, 8:54 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Hello, John Wasserman here. I, John Wasserman, wanted to state that they should add the extra "Z" back in. I, John Wasserman, would be offended if I was called John Waserman. Pardon my interruption. John Wasserman
June 6, 2016, 9:15 am
Josh from Bayridge says:
Don't worry about the z. The city will probably rename the bridge just like every other bridge/tunnel and probably to be more PC.
June 6, 2016, 9:29 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
No matter the name change of this critical piece of MTA infrastructure, it is still essential for the people of Brooklyn and Staten Island.
June 6, 2016, 11:23 am
Zelda Zycherman from Borough Park says:
Two Z's are better than one!
June 6, 2016, 12:15 pm
Zelda Zycherman from Borough Park says:
If you like ZZ Top, you'll love the Verrazzano Bridge!
June 6, 2016, 12:16 pm
Zelda Zycherman from Borough Park says:
A good book of short stories is "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere" by Z.Z. Packer. I read it while driving to Staten Island.
June 6, 2016, 12:17 pm
Zelda Zycherman from Borough Park says:
It will be dazzling when they change the spelling.
June 6, 2016, 12:17 pm
Zelda Zycherman from Borough Park says:
Sizzling, too! Especially when it's drizzling.
June 6, 2016, 12:18 pm
Zelda Zycherman from Borough Park says:
One good Z deserves another.
June 6, 2016, 12:19 pm
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
Who cares how you spell it, just ban cars and turn it into a bike and bus only bridge.
June 6, 2016, 2:10 pm
Zaxby says:
Yo, yo, yo Trollerskates thats an amazing idea. what if we make the ramps super big Slip N Slides? that'd be dope!
June 6, 2016, 3:40 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Honestly, I find the move to spell the name right to be overreacting. If Robert Nash should be doing something for this bridge, it should be to remove long paid off toll that isn't necessary anymore. That toll should along with so many others should have been removed decades ago after serving its purpose. Now, it's one of the most expensive bridges to cross and Staten Island residents have been demanding it to be removed for a while. Perhaps, that's why Staten Islanders may have once threatened to secede from NYC or even the state itself because they hate the fact that they have to pay a toll to leave their own island regardless of the direction.
June 6, 2016, 3:57 pm
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
I, John Wasserman, thinks that Robert Nash should turn his focus to losing those man-——.
June 6, 2016, 10:50 pm
Man from Newkirk Plaza says:
How about extending the "R" train over the Verrazzano, however it's spelled.
June 6, 2016, 11:58 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
There actually was an idea to extend the R train to Staten Island when the 4th Avenue Line was being built, but that was scrapped a while ago, though it was unknown if that would have involved either a bridge or a tunnel considering that this was before the VNB was built not to mention considering the span of the Narrows itself.
June 7, 2016, 4:55 pm
Winston from Park Slope says:
The name is too ethnic, they should change it to something American.
June 8, 2016, 11:36 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
I would like to start a petition to correct other misspelled explorers' names. We should be living in "The United States of Amerigo". Our capitol should be in the "District of Colombo".

Who is with me?
June 13, 2016, 10:19 am
buck from bay ridge says:
Welcome to the incompetence of the MTA. 4 million to replace 139 signs?
June 16, 2016, 3:41 pm

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