HUGH CAREY TUNNEL SIGN, Financial District

by Kevin Walsh

Hugh L. Carey (1919-2011) was the formidably sideburned NY State Governor from 1975 to 1982; before that, the World War II veteran served as a US Representative from NY State for seven terms from 1961 to 1974. The Croix de Guerre and Bronze Star Major was the first US Congressman to publicly oppose the Vietnam War. In Congress, Carey sponsored bills to assist handicapped children and sponsored federal education aid.

Elected NYS governor in 1974, Carey guided NYC during its 1970s financial crisis. Infrastructure was his hallmark as the Jacob Javits Center, the South Street Seaport and Battery Park Center were built or began construction during his tenure, and provided funding for Syracuse’s Carrier Dome. Carey was also able to reduce both business and cap income taxes.

In one of the least-known infrastructural renamings in NYC, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel between Red Hook and the lower end of Manhattan, which had opened in 1950 was renamed for Carey in 2012, one year after his death. The Triborough was renamed for Robert F. Kennedy in 2008, 40 years after his assassination; the new Tappan Zee span was named for Governor Mario Cuomo upon its dedication in 2017, two years after his death (replacing the former Tappan Zee span, which had been named for Governor Malcolm Wilson). Meanwhile, the Queensboro Bridge, completed in 1909, was renamed for former Mayor Ed Koch in 2011, two years before his death. As a nod to Koch’s still-living status in 2011, the Queensboro became the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.

New Yorkers from the city and state, meanwhile, have been adamant about referring to the bridges and tunnels by their original names.

The sign seen here follows a convention to mark approach roads to tunnels and bridges that was devised in the 1940s. Roads that went to bridges were white with red and blue trim and had a pentagon or arrowhead shape. Meanwhile, roads that went to tunnels were circular and wither white or yellow with black lettering. This sign seems rather crudely put together, and the lettering is curved unevenly as is in Helvetica instead of Highway Gothic.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”



Livonia Van Sinderen-Hegeman November 14, 2019 - 9:24 am

A sign only our esteemed former governor’s proctologist could love. Now if only the sign were located in GowANUS…

Punto November 14, 2019 - 11:29 am


FYI – The link to Carey’s obit indicates that he was 92 when he died which makes the birth year you give about 8 years off.

Sal November 14, 2019 - 12:15 pm

Can they stop wasting our taxes on this nonsense?

Andy November 14, 2019 - 4:25 pm

Need to correct Mr. Carey’s birth year – was 1919. Would have been 100 this past April 2019.

J.W. Dagion November 22, 2019 - 9:47 pm

There are still those who call Sixth Avenue Sixth Avenue and not Avenue of the Americas.
I’ll stick to calling things by their original name — add the NEW Tappan Zee Bridge to the list not the Cuomo Bridge.

Michael Haggerty December 4, 2019 - 1:31 pm

Who will get a building, a bridge or any other significant structure named after them first? David Dinkins, Bill DeBlasio, or Rudy Giuliani?

Ken Buettner January 1, 2020 - 8:50 pm

David Dinkins got there first. Bill DiBlasio renamed the Municipal Building for him in 2015.


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