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Cuomo's Quest To Rename Tappan Zee Bridge After His Dad Angers Family Of Current Namesake

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There is controversy and pushback over Gov. Andrew Cuomo's sudden decision to try to rename the Tappan Zee Bridge for his dad.

As CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported, Katharine Wilson Conroy, the daughter of former Gov. Malcolm Wilson, is angry that, in an eleventh-hour move, Cuomo tried to get the Legislature to name the new Tappan Zee Bridge after former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

The problem is it already has a name: the Gov. Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge.

Conroy wants the governor to reconsider.

"Governor, by all means name something after you dad. I think it's a wonderful thing to do," Conroy said. "I would ask you earnestly to consider naming something else, something with which your dad would more inherently connected, the way my dad was with the Tappan Zee Bridge."

Conroy said the Tappan Zee, which connects Westchester and Rockland counties, means a lot to her entire family. Her grandchildren never tire of posing for pictures at their great-granddad's bridge. Wilson was from Westchester.

"It means something to my children, to my grandchildren," Conroy said.

The irony is that it was Mario Cuomo who suggested naming the bridge for Wilson, a Republican, saying he didn't receive the recognition he deserved.

The Tappan Zee was named after Wilson. It was the 20th anniversary of him leaving office. He died in 2000.

The Senate passed the name-change legislation just before it adjourned.

The governor defended the bill, saying that while former Gov. Hugh Carey has the Battery Tunnel and former Mayor Ed Koch has the Queensborough Bridge, his dad doesn't have anything named after him.

He called the end-of-session vote "a beautiful gesture because it said, you know what, even at 9 o'clock at night, sometimes people can put aside the pettiness and the partisan politics and actually do a good thing from a good place."

The bill still has to be passed by the Assembly, but if it becomes final, the governor will be under considerable pressure to find something suitable to name for Wilson. One possibility is the Mid-Hudson Bridge, just north of the Tappan Zee.

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