Don’t Mess with the Mario Cuomo Bridge
A Whitney Global Media Commentary
November 15, 2021
By William O’Shaughnessy, President and Editorial Director
It’s time we weighed in on the misguided effort to try and re-name the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
We’re not a Johnny-come-lately to the controversy.
Some many years ago, I received a call from then Governor Mario Cuomo who said, “We want to name something for your friend Malcom Wilson. My people have suggested a vast tract in the Adirondacks … or the Liberty Scholarship … which were begun under his stewardship.”
At that moment, the call was joined by my former wife Nancy Curry who said “I think you should name something for Governor Wilson that you can ‘reach out and touch’ … like a bridge.” Thus was born (for a short time) the idea for the Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge.
We were there at the dedication (when they unveiled the huge sign that misspelled the name of the Malcom Wilson Bridge – they left out the “L” in Malcolm).
After the governor’s action, it had to be approved by legislatures in Rockland and Westchester.
Malcolm Wilson was an articulate and brilliant man who served in New York State government longer than anyone as an assemblyman, lieutenant governor and governor.
He was also the greatest orator Fordham ever graduated. Mario Cuomo once observed “Malcolm would beat you up in English … and then finish you off in Latin!“
So we applaud the suggestion to name a “Welcome Center” on the Westchester side of the bridge as suggested by Mr. Abinanti.
But Assemblyman Tom Abinanti and Assemblyman Mike Lawler, his Assembly cohort from Rockland, are ill-advised to try to change the name of the Mario Cuomo Bridge which many view as yet another attempt to pile-on his son and heir former Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The bridge which was appropriately named after a great and good man the Boston Globe called “The great philosopher-statesman of the American nation” should not be messed with by vindictive and opportunistic politicians. Thus, the bridge that replaced the aging Tappan Bridge span should remain the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge as it is now widely known.
And we should also name something significant and meaningful for Governor Malcom Wilson.
William O’Shaughnessy, a former president of the New York State Broadcasters Association, was chairman of Public Affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington. He has been a point man and advocate for the broadcasters of America on First Amendment and Free Speech issues and is presently chairman of the Guardian Fund of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, the national charitable organization. He is also a longtime director and member of the Executive Committee of the Foundation. He has operated WVOX and WVIP, two of the last independent stations in the New York area, for over 60 years as president and editorial director.
He is the author of “AirWAVES” (1999) … “It All Comes Back to Me Now” (2001) … “More Riffs, Rants and Raves” (2004) … and “VOX POPULI: The O’Shaughnessy Files,” released in January, 2011. He has also written “Mario Cuomo: Remembrances of a Remarkable Man,” a tribute to his late friend Governor Mario M. Cuomo. His newest book RADIOactive for Fordham University Press, another anthology with interviews, commentaries, speeches and tributes was published in 2019. He is presently working on Townies, a paean to those without wealth, influence or high estate in suburban Westchester County, the heart of the Eastern Establishment.