After taking a victory lap on the new span earlier in the day, Governor Andrew Cuomo welcomed the shiny 21st century Kosciuszko Bridge with a light show on Thursday night. Yes, a Billy Joel song kicked it off.
So now we all know that a "Kosciuszko Bridge" playlist includes "New York State of Mind," "New York Groove," "Empire State of Mind" and "New York, New York."
The old bridge will be blown to smithereens later this summer, and Cuomo reminded everyone, "I’ll tell you why this bridge is so important and is so symbolic. This bridge is 78 years old, the old Kosciuszko Bridge. When it was built it was meant to handle 10,000 cars, now it handles 180,000 cars. It has been a problem for traffic and for the community for 30, 40, 50 years."
Cuomo also shared this anecdote about his experience with the bridge: "Whatever time you were on the Kosciuszko Bridge, it was the wrong time to hit the Kosciuszko Bridge. If you add up all the time that I spent on the Kosciuszko Bridge, it would be about a year of my life spent in traffic on the Kosciuszko Bridge. I remember as a young boy, my father coming down the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway trying to get over the bridge and it would just stop. It would just stop at the beginning of the bridge and my father would bang the steering wheel and he would say, 'We didn’t make it through Death Valley.'"
In New York we build bridges, not walls. pic.twitter.com/cPxczgjqHC
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 28, 2017
Get ready for more light shows for bridges that won't be exploded. "We’re going to choreograph all the bridges," Cuomo said. "You’re going to see it choreographed with the George Washington, with the Verrazano, with the Throgs Neck with the Whitestone and you’re going to see all these magnificent structures all through the harbor, all illuminated, all choreographed. I believe it’s going to be an international tourism destination, like we have never seen before. I think it’s going to bring even more tourists to New York and give people more of a reason to come visit us."
The MTA is spending $500 million on Cuomo's initiative to illuminate the bridges and implement automatic, cashless tolling at NY bridges and tunnels. In announcing the plan last October, Cuomo said the Bay Bridge lighting in San Francisco contributed to $100 million in economic activity, and other cities around the world have also joined the fancy bridge lighting trend, with mixed reactions.