Connecting Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx, the bridge (I-278), joined the New York landscape in 1936.
Former President Bill Clinton, Governor David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a gaggle of Kennedys faced the brunt of a bitter wind to honor the former U.S. Senator from New York and presidential candidate.
“New York wouldn’t be the City it is today without the Triborough. The United States wouldn’t be the country it is today without Robert F. Kennedy,” Bloomberg said. “It’s only fitting the naming of a bridge fit the grandeur of its scale.”
Kennedy’s daughter Kerry, a former Queens resident, recalled crossing the bridge with her father regularly, who would point to the neighboring Hell Gate Bridge and playfully tell his children, “Look at the upside-down bridge!”
Clinton argued the best memorial for Kennedy may be a pause to think of the man’s legacy every time one crosses the bridge.
“He moved a generation by reminding us we can be the greatest bridge,” he said.
Still, not everyone felt the urge to eulogize that day. Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) released a statement in light of the ceremony, saying the State and City have more important business to tend to.
“Robert Kennedy was a great man, but this isn’t the time,” Vallone said in a statement. “While one agency that gets money from the state is raising fares and cutting service to the neighborhood at the foot of the bridge, another has somehow found a way to spend millions of dollars on changing the signage of it.”