Spelling of Verrazzano Bridge's name finally corrected (on paper) after decades

A mistake that caused the name of New York's Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge to be misspelled for more than 50 years has finally been corrected.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed legislation adding a second letter 'Z' to the name of the bridge between Brooklyn and Staten Island.

"The Verrazzano Bridge is a vital transportation artery for millions of Staten Island and Brooklyn residents," Cuomo said in a statement. "We are correcting this decades-old misspelling out of respect to the legacy of the explorer and to New York's heritage."

The name had been spelled with one 'Z', even though it should have had two to reflect the name of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the Italian explorer who discovered New York harbor in 1524. The misspelling dates back decades to the bridge's construction contract.

"Unfortunately, the name of this historic bridge has been spelled wrong for decades, and out of respect for simple correctness, should be fixed," state Sen. Martin Golden said. "Our new law does exactly this at no cost to the taxpayers."

While the change takes effect immediately, under the legislation road signs with the misspelled name will be replaced only when they wear out.

The bridge was the world's longest suspension bridge from its opening in 1964 until 1981. The bridge's main span (4,260 feet) remains the longest in North America.

It connects Brooklyn and Staten Island over the narrows, the body of water that links the upper and lower portions of New York Bay. All vessels bound for the Port of New York and New Jersey pass beneath the iconic bridge.

On the first Sunday of November every year, the bridge closes to traffic so that about 50,000 athletes participating in the New York City Marathon can cross from Staten Island into Brooklyn. The marathon is the only time pedestrians are allowed on the bridge, although various groups have called for the addition of a pedestrian walkway since the span's construction.