By Nathan Duke
Gov. David Paterson signed a bill into law last week that renamed the Triborough Bridge, which connects Astoria to the Bronx and Manhattan, after the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.), a spokeswoman for the governor said.
The governor signed the bill, sponsored by state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), on Aug. 5 following recent approval by the state Legislature, the governor's spokeswoman said.
The bridge's new name went into effect immediately, Gianaris said.
The assemblyman said Kennedy had long been an advocate for minority groups, so the renaming of the bridge was geographically significant.
“Bobby Kennedy was not only a great New Yorker, but also a great American,” Gianaris said. “As our U.S. senator for a number of years, he had a platform from which he fought the struggle for equality and civil rights. It's appropriate that a bridge that unites diverse communities bears his name. Those of us who represent those neighborhoods that are served by the bridge will be proud to have his name on it.”
Kennedy represented New York in the U.S. Senate from 1965-68. He was assassinated during his 1968 presidential campaign after winning the California primary.
Kennedy's family had long requested that the bridge be renamed in his honor and former Gov. Eliot Spitzer proposed the name change in January, Gianaris said.
The bridge, which can be reached from Hoyt Avenue North in Astoria, is now known as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. The structure opened in 1936.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.