Fifty years ago, on November 21, 1964, ceremonies were held in Brooklyn for the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Master builder Robert Moses realized his vision of connecting Staten Island to the rest of the boroughs by overseeing the construction of what was then the longest suspension bridge in the world.
[Photo source: silive.com]
Today, in light of the anniversary, a celebration will be held at The Overlook at Fort Wadsworth. Festivities include a 50-gun salute by the New York State Veteran Corps of Artillery, and FDNY Fireboat display in the harbor, and a performance by the acclaimed P.S. 22 Chorus. MTA President James Ferrara, Chairman Thomas F. Pendergast, and other officials will be on hand. Later this evening, a cocktail reception will take place at Casa Belvedere in Grymes Hill.
However, you will not find Mayor Bill de Blasio or Goverenor Andrew Cuomo in attendance at these celebratory events. The bridge's 50th birthday also happens to fall during the same week that the MTA announced plans for it's next round of fare and toll hikes. None of Staten Island's elected officials will be attending, stating that the toll increase is a frustrating situation, and that they cannot show support for something that burdens the residents.
[Photo source: hsart.com]
The population of Staten Island has doubled since 1964, largely due to the bridge making the island more accessible, and so unfortunately the toll must keep up. The proposed increase will raise the cash fare from $15 to $16. The MTA urges residents to sign up for an EZPass account. With a resident discount, the electronic toll will sit at $5.74.