Hochul plans to call NYC bridges ‘dingy’ in State of the State speech

(December 26, 2021) — In a new spin on former Mayor Rudy Guiliani‘s ‘Broken Windows‘ theory, Governor Kathy Hochul is creating a new metric for government performance: no more ‘dingy-looking’ bridges.

In her first State of the State speech later this month, Hochul will be calling for a revival of the historic ‘City Beautiful‘ movement of the early 1900s, when a generation of civic leaders and urban planners was inspired to build public spaces and aspirational infrastructure that rivaled the aesthetic beauty of Europe.

Hochul will be calling on the Metropolitan Transporation Authority‘s Division of Bridges and Tunnels — which manages eight bridges and two tunnels that enable more than 329 million vehicle crossings each year — to fully repaint each of its eight bridge structures in ‘bold, cheerful, clean’ colors that are inspiring of civic pride and a unique sense of place.

“When we take pride in how our City looks — when we take pride in the quality of our built environment — we take more pride in ourselves,” Hochul plans to say in prepared remarks.  “It was no small thing to wage a war on ‘Broken Windows’.  Now let’s make sure the State of New York is keeping up its part.”

The MTA will be instructed to install lighting systems that illuminate the bridge structures at night, and in festive color schemes during holidays and special events.  The Verrazano Narrows and the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, two of the City’s most iconic landmarks, are the first among the bridges that the MTA will be repainting and relighting.


Public art experts think that the Henry Hudson Bridge over the Harlem River would be less unsightly if it took on deep, earthy, warm, autumnal tones.


All of the MTA’s Bridges are currently painted in the same pale steely shade of light blue, which makes none of them particularly iconic or recognizable despite the great feats of each’s structural engineering.  The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, with a more bold color choice — perhaps a midnight black — could quickly become iconic in the national consciousness. 


The Verrazano Narrows Bridge will be painted a bright shade of terra cotta, in a transcontinental ode to the architecture and geography of the Golden Gate Bridge. Hochul hopes to develop a visitor center at the base of the bridge in Staten Island, at the Fort Wadsworth National Historic Site and Gateway National Recreation Area.


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