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Archive for the tag 'verrazano narrows bridge'

Source: USPS

Source: USPS

The United States Postal Service issued a brand new stamp depicting the Verrazano Narrows Bridge on March 4, commemorating the 50th anniversary of one of the world’s largest suspension bridges.

From the postal service’s description:

[T]he stamp captures the grandeur of the Verrazano, not only showing its sheer size and scale, but also giving a sense of the sweeping curve of the double-decker roadway. The artist chose to showcase the bridge at twilight, which offers an interesting play of light and shadow.

Not to mention that sunrises and sunsets are the best times to view the iconic bridge, so it’s no surprise that illustrator Dan Cosgrove chose to capture it then.

1964 Verrazano stamp

1964 Verrazano stamp

The 4,260-foot-long, 690-foot-tall bridge opened on November 21, 1964, the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time (it remains the longest in the Americas today). It’s named for Giovanni da Verrazzano, an Italian explorer credited with discovering New York Bay in 1524. He was leading what was believed to be the first exploration by Europeans of the North American northeast coastline since the Norse expeditions more than 500 years earlier.

It’s not the first time the bridge has graced postage. On the occasion of the bridge’s opening, the USPS issued a 5-cent stamp. And in 2006, a stamp featuring the bridge was issued as part of the “Wonders of America” series.

The stamp itself is neither a forever stamp or a standard 49-cent stamp, but comes in at a whopping $5.60. It’s fitting, given that it depicts the bridge with the highest toll in the nation. We wonder if Staten Islanders will get a discount.

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

The campaign to pressure the Metropolitan Transit Authority to expand the multi-trip discount toll discount plan on the Verrazano-Narrows bridge to Brooklynites has kicked up a notch, with Senator Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis launching a petition and website to that end.

The petition is hosted at TheTollsAreTooDamnHigh.com, It reads:

In 2012, in response to public outcry, the Port Authority created a bridge discount program, providing Brooklyn residents traveling over the Goethals Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing, and the Bayonne Bridge three times or more a month with a 58% discount.

Senator Golden has proposed that the MTA provide the same plan for Brooklynites who frequently use the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Assemblywoman Malliotakis has joined him to create this petition to help residents facing skyrocketing tolls when crossings the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Under the plan, residents traveling over the Verrazano Bridge would receive a 58% discount from the $15 cash price to be applied to EZ-Pass holders who travel over the bridge 3 or more times a month. This means that an EZ-Pass holder would see their toll price reduced from roughly $10.50 to $6.30.

Residents can sign the petition by visiting the website, or one of the elected officials’ district offices.

In February, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a deal giving Staten Island EZ-Pass holders a toll break on the Verrazano Bridge. The plan grants Island commuters the discount laid out in the Golden-Malliotakis petition, but denies it to residents of other boroughs.

Area pols immediately criticized the deal, calling it unfair that Brooklynites were left out. Golden, Councilmember Vincent Gentile, State Senator Diane Savino and Borough President Eric Adams all spoke out against it. Gentile later introduced a resolution to the City Council calling for the MTA to give Brooklyn residents a matching deal.

Golden and Malliotakis launched their petition Friday.

“The rising cost of the Verrazano Bridge toll has become prohibitive not only for Staten Island residents, but for Brooklyn residents as well,” said Golden in a press release. “Even though people who live in my district are going the opposite way of those who live in Staten Island, the cost is the same, and therefore, the discount should be the same.”

On the news of the petition’s launch, Gentile and Adams released a joint statement praising the effort and calling for unity in the fight for toll equity:

We thank State Senator Golden and Assembly Member Malliotakis for joining our community’s fight to address disparity in the new tolling plan for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. We cannot stand for the unfair penalizing of Brooklynites that work, go to school or have family members on Staten Island, Brooklynites that use this bridge every day. In this spirit, we are jointly introducing a City Council resolution calling on the Metropolitan Transit Authority to consider the impact of the current pricing scheme on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on both the residents of Brooklyn and Staten Island. Both boroughs, as well as the elected officials who represent them, need to stand in unity on this issue. That is why we will be proud to be among the first to sign the new petition calling for toll relief for Brooklynites, and that is why we look forward to furthering our efforts to achieve a truly ‘fair fare’ on this thoroughfare.

A box truck erupted into flames on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Tuesday, causing traffic backups and drawing firefighters to the scene.

The truck was on the Brooklyn-bound upper-level of the bridge when it ignited at approximately 7:30 p.m., reports NBC New York.

A driver and passenger escaped the vehicle unharmed.

It took firefighters approximately 30 minutes to squelch the flames, and traffic was backed up as the upper level was shut down to deal with the situation, reports SILive.com.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire, eyeing a possible overheated engine as the cause.

gentile

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Vincent Gentile:

At a press conference this past Saturday, Council Member Vincent J. Gentile and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced that they are introducing a City Council resolution to address disparity in the proposed new tolling plan for the Verrazano Bridge, which was publicized last week by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The resolution, which Gentile will co-sponsor with Borough President Adams in the New York City Council, calls on Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature to ensure community equity in the setting or adjusting of bridge and tunnel tolls.

Council Member Gentile, who represented parts of Staten Island as a New York State Senator from 1997-2002, commended Governor Cuomo for the sweeping discount plan, which will provide a significant discount from current toll rates for Staten Islanders, while expressing his feeling that it doesn’t go quite far enough.

“I’m all for lowering tolls for hardworking Staten Islanders but the fact is this deal is one sided and does not include Brooklyn,” said Council Member Gentile. “We cannot pit borough against borough. This is one bridge with two sides. To recognize the toll burdens for residents on one side of the bridge, we must recognize the toll burdens for the residents on the other side of the bridge. To do anything less would give a new definition of highway robbery for Brooklynites. That is why, through a City Council resolution, I am calling on the State to ensure community equity in the setting and adjusting of bridge and tunnel tolls. There are many, many Brooklynites who commute to Staten Island on a daily basis and that needs to be addressed.”

“We must have a fair decrease of the fare on the Verrazano Bridge,” said Borough President Adams. “This is an important pocketbook issue. Many people don’t know that Borough Presidents can introduce legislation; I’m happy this is the first piece of legislation that I will be co-introducing with Council Member Gentile. It sends the right message that we must use government to alleviate the burdens that impact everyday Brooklynites. What we’re asking the Governor and our legislators to do is we want to have a fair fare on the Verrazano Bridge; that’s what this resolution is about. We are not going to create a two-tiered system where we’re allowing one side of a waterway to be treated differently than another side.”

Gentile and Adams were joined by elected officials, Community Board 10 leadership and local affected residents, all of whom joined in the unified message of equity in lowering tolls for Brooklyn and Staten Island commuters alike.

“I am proud to stand with my colleagues in Brooklyn on the issue of toll relief,” said State Senator Diane Savino. “We saw what happen in Staten Island when both sides of the aisle work together for a common goal. Together we were able to achieve the first-ever toll reduction for Staten Island residents; it was difficult, but we did it. Those Brooklyn residents that use the Verrazano often should be able to get some relief also.”

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Vincent Gentile. Earlier this morning, State Senator Marty Golden issued a similar demand

Today Governor Andrew Cuomo announces a long-awaited deal which will give Staten Island E-ZPass holders a big toll break on the Verrazano Bridge – a deal that has left Councilman Vincent J. Gentile once again demanding, “What about Brooklyn?!”

Councilman Gentile, who represented parts of Staten Island as a New York State Senator from 1997-2002, commended Governor Cuomo for the sweeping discount plan which will provide a significant discount from current toll rates for Staten Islanders but feels it doesn’t go quite far enough.

“I’m all for lowering tolls for hardworking New Yorkers but the fact is this deal is one sided and does not include Brooklyn – perhaps someone forgot that the bridge has two sides!,” Councilman Gentile said. “This is a tale of two boroughs!”

“My council district surrounds the Brooklyn end of the Verrazano Bridge and every day residents travel across that bridge to and from the College of Staten Island or Wagner College, or to see their parents or loved ones in nursing homes or to work or shop at the mall,” Gentile continued. “These residents in the zip-codes surrounding the Verrazano have to pay considerably more than their Staten Island neighbors every time they use this bridge. At $15 a pop, this is completely unjustifiable not to mention a serious burden on the wallet.”

Gentile is once again calling on the Governor to extend the same discount plan for residents on the “other” side of the bridge in southwest Brooklyn.

“For local people who need to cross the Verrazano Bridge on a daily or frequent basis, the same discount on the bridge should apply as the discount given to Staten Islanders. If the Port Authority can work this out for the bridges they operate, so can the MTA!”

Councilman Gentile has offered several times to convene a meeting of state legislators and MTA officials to work out an equitable discount plan for Brooklynites.

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

The following is a press release from the offices of State Senator Marty Golden. (Update [12:40 p.m.]: Councilman Vincent Gentile has also issued a statement demanding fair treatment for Brooklyn commuters):

State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn), following the announcement that Staten Island residents will receive an additional discount in tolls, is calling on the MTA to fund a discount for residents of New York City who travel over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on a regular basis.

Senator Golden is calling for a 58% discount from the $15 cash price, to be applied to EZ-Pass holders who travel over the bridge 3 or more times in a month. This would mean that an EZ-Pass holder would see their toll price reduced from roughly $10.50 to $6.30. This discount is identical to the discount plan currently in place for Brooklyn residents at the Port Authority Bridges connecting Staten Island and New Jersey, which are the Goethals, Outerbridge, and Bayonne Bridge, giving both precedent for a discount of this nature and statistical data based on the current plan on the PA crossing.

“There are residents of my district who work, visit family, and use the Verrazano-Narrows bridge almost every day to commute. They can end up paying more than $200.00 a month in tolls just for this one crossing. This is excessive, unreasonable, and an almost unbearable amount of money to be paying simply to either get to work, school or visit family members,” said Senator Golden.

“Today I am once again calling for a discount of 58% for all resident who use the Verrazano-Narrows bridge 3 or more times a month. This means EZ-Pass users would be saving over $4.00 a trip. This discount is fair for residents and not overbearing to the MTA. I call on the MTA to enact this as soon as possible. It shouldn’t cost roughly $2,500 a year to go from Brooklyn to Staten Island.”

Source: fawlty128 via flickr.com

A 45-year-old woman from New Jersey jumped to her death from the Verrazano Narrows Bridge on Friday morning.

Responding to a report of an abandoned vehicle on the upper level of the bridge, police from the 68th Precinct arrived, discovering the driver laying on the rocks below, according to the Home Reporter.

The MTA announced that two of the Verrazano’s Staten Island lanes were closed by 10:47 a.m., with one reopening an hour later and all lanes reopening by 12:47 p.m.

SLive.com reports that the Verrazano “has been the scene of at least eight suicides and six more attempts since December 2011, according to Advance records.” They add that the “suicides have come in clusters — two in a one-month stretch from December 2011 to Jan 2012, three more between May 27 and June 28 in 2012, and two between March 30 and April 14 of last year.”

In November, Bensonhurst Bean shared dramatic footage of police rescuing a suicidal man. We previously reported on plunges or suicide attempts in September, June and April.

– Vanessa Ogle

The MTA released this beautiful video this morning on YouTube, which shows the preparation and kick off for the New York City marathon on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which has hosted the event’s opening since 1976.

The video features awe inspiring shots and time-lapse video from various points around the bridge, including the top of one of its pillars looking down on to the roadway, Brooklyn spread out in the background.

Last year, the marathon was canceled at the last minute following outrage from city dwellers over the allocation of resources following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. It was the first year the city went without a marathon.

When it returned this month, it was the largest marathon in world history, with 50,304 runners crossing the finish line.

The video is a salute to the runners and those involved in Sandy recovery.

Just as a suicidal man was about to take a public, final plunge from the beams of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, NYPD Emergency Service Unit officers saw an opening and made their move.

Jobless and worried about providing for his 2-year-old son, the 39-year-old man had stopped his Dodge Caravan on the Brooklyn-bound upper level and climbed to the cables shortly after 10:00 a.m. When officers arrived, they spent an hour trying to talk him down before the man began praying.

SILive reports:

“We thought we were making headway with him. We almost thought he was going to come in. Then he started to shut down slightly on us. He started, we think, he was praying. It appeared he was making peace with what he was about to do,” said Det. Jeffrey Loughery. “At that point we were able to — we saw a little window of opportunity, and we made the grab at that time.”

… Loughery and two other members of Staten Island’s ESU Truck 5, Det. Paul Fazio and Officer Robert Reed, who were attached to the bridge with safety cables, managed to pull the man off the bridge’s metal “finger,” and though he struggled initially, once he was in custody, he calmed down.

According to police, the man — a Merrick, L.I. resident whose identity has not been released by the NYPD — pulled over to the far right lane in a Dodge Caravan and got out.

He left his wallet behind, and put his keys atop a handwritten suicide note, penned in black ink in an unspecified foreign language on a standard loose-leaf-sized piece of paper, police said.

According to the report, the man admitted to having suffered from mental illness for much of his life. Once he was pulled to safety – a feat achieved when the three officers hooked a harness to him, as seen in the video above – the man began asking the officers if they were safe.

“Okay, okay, I just want to make sure you guys are safe,” Fazio recalled the man saying, according to SILive.

There have been at least eight suicides from the bridge and seven suicide attempts since December 2011. Some have called for additional security provisions to prevent attempts. As of now, the only measures on the bridge are police patrols, signs that read “Life is worth living,” and phones that link directly to a suicide hotline.

You can read more about recent suicides and attempts from the Verrazano-Narrows bridge here.

5 Boro Bike Tour

Source: BikeNewYork.org

Attention drivers! There will be a number of street, bridge and highway closures all over the city this Sunday, as the Five Boro Bike Tour takes two-wheeling participants from edge to edge of New York City.

Most relevant to our area is that a portion of the Verrazano-Narrow Bridge will be closed for most of the day, as will the Gowanus Expressway and BQE.

The lower level of the Verrazano Bridge from Brooklyn to Staten Island will be closed from 12:01 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Brooklyn-bound lower level will also close at 12:01 a.m. Two lanes will reopen about 8 a.m. The upper level will be open in both directions.

From 7:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., the BQE/ Gowanus Expressway will be closed between BQE – West Entrance Columbia Street and the Verrazano Bridge. Beyond Columbia Street, the Bike Tour’s route is mainly on local streets, though their presence on the BQE also means traffic exiting the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel in Brooklyn will be diverted to Hamilton Avenue from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

If you’re planning on driving around any other borough on Sunday, make sure you check with the DOT’s advisory.

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