Albany, NY (October 22, 2012)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel has been officially renamed the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel in honor of former Governor Hugh L. Carey. Lt. Governor Robert Duffy, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Lhota, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Jim Ferrara, members of the Carey family, as well as past and present public and elected officials gathered Monday to dedicate the tunnel.
“Governor Carey was a true New Yorker and dedicated public servant who saved our state from the brink of bankruptcy and financial ruin,” said Governor Cuomo. “A true son of Brooklyn, it is only fitting that we dedicate one of the borough’s most important transportation links to a great leader who was known for his energy, enthusiasm and love of New York and for all New Yorkers.”
“I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to a man who rescued New York City from the brink of financial collapse in the 1970s than to dedicate this important link between two great boroughs in his honor,” said Chairman Lhota. “Through this tunnel, Hugh Carey’s name and his spirit will live on for decades and even centuries to come.”
The Brooklyn-born Carey served as the state’s 51st governor between 1975 and 1982. Among his many achievements, Carey is credited with saving New York City from the 1970s fiscal crisis and helping create Battery Park City, the Jacob K. Javits Center, and the South Street Seaport.
The New York State Legislature passed legislation renaming the tunnel in December 2010. Carey, who was ill at the time, passed away Aug. 7, 2011 at age 92.
“The fiscal health and economic growth of New York City since the 1970s is the result of Governor Carey’s brilliant stewardship. Lower Manhattan, with Battery Park City and the South Street Seaport, which he helped create, is thriving today thanks to Governor Carey,” said former Governor David Paterson, who is also an MTA Board member and signed the legislation into law as governor. “It is a fitting tribute that this critical transportation artery that means so much to the City will forever bear his name.”
“As governor, Hugh Carey saved the city by bringing together business and labor leaders, and Democratic and Republican leaders – something we certainly need more of in government today,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The New York that stands today is a testament to Governor Carey’s foresight and fortitude. His impact on our city will be felt for generations to come – and today, we are making sure his name and legacy is remembered for generations to come.”
“Governor Carey’s remarkable leadership not only saw New York through an extraordinarily challenging time, but also laid the groundwork for a strong, viable future,” said Senator Daniel Squadron. “It’s particularly fitting that the tunnel connecting Governor Carey’s home borough with one of his signature achievements – Battery Park City – is now being named in his honor. Thank you to the MTA and all of my colleagues in government for this wonderful tribute.”
The ceremony, held on the roadway near the Manhattan portal of the tunnel, also included the unveiling of new 30-inch-high black stainless steel lettering, declaring it the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel. The name will appear on both the Brooklyn and Manhattan sides of the tunnel. Red, white and blue vinyl banners with the tunnel’s new name are also in place to herald the name change.
In a fitting tribute to the late governor, tenor saxophonist Erik Clarke, a New York City Transit Manager in Subway Division’s New Technology Cars, played the “I Love New York” theme song, a campaign Carey initiated, and “New York, New York,” a personal favorite of the late governor’s.
The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel opened to traffic on May 25, 1950. Stretching 1.7 miles portal-to-portal it is the longest continuous underwater vehicular tunnel in North America. In 2011, nearly 16.6 million vehicles, used the tunnel. There are 183 employees at the tunnel, including officers, sergeants, lieutenants, engineers, maintenance, administrative and supervisory personnel.
During the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, the tunnel was used as a primary conduit for emergency and recovery efforts.
“Our officers will proudly wear the letters HLC on their uniforms in honor of a great public servant who served New York, both the city and the state, proudly during his long and prestigious career,” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Jim Ferrara.