On November 21st, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will be celebrating its 51st anniversary. The bridge, spanning all the way from Brooklyn to Staten Island, and serves as the first leg of the New York City Marathon, was constructed in five years and completed in 1964. With special help from bridge expert and explorer, Dave Frieder, we’ve compiled a list of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge’s top 10 secrets.
10. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is Missing a “Z”
While the bridge is named after the Italian explorer, Giovanni da Verrazzano, Governor Nelson Rockefeller preferred to spell the Verrazzano with a single “z.” Giovanni da Verrazzano is said to be the first European to sail into the New York Harbor in 1524, arriving in the harbor on a French ship, “La Dauphine.”
The Italian Historical Society of America pushed for the naming of the bridge after the explorer. When the bridge opened, Italian Americans, along with the Italian Ambassador to the United States, advocated for the spelling to have the proper two “z’s.” However, Rockefeller stuck with the single “z,” claiming it was the “American spelling.”
Dave Frieder mentioned that it is also rumored that the TBTA, the parent company of MTA Bridges and Tunnels, wanted to save money by cutting out a letter.