By Jennifer Glickel
MANHATTAN — The Queensboro Bridge will be renamed to honor Ed Koch, the colorful former mayor, city officials announced Wednesday.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed the plan at a reception in honor of Koch’s 86th birthday at Gracie Mansion, a spokesman said.
"Like Ed, it’s a resilient, hardworking New York City icon that’s been bringing people together for a long time — and will probably outlast us all," Bloomberg said in a statement.
Koch served three terms as New York City's mayor from 1978 to 1989 and liked to greet his constituents with the trademark phrase: "How'm I doin'?"
"I'm honored and deeply grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and the city," Koch told Reuters. "This was done completely without my knowledge, and I was shocked and delighted when I found out."
The 101-year-old bridge, which spans the East River to connect 59th Street in Manhattan to Long Island City, Queens. It's one of two bridges to get a name change this week, as state legislators voted to rename the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel after former Gov. Hugh L. Carey, according to the New York Times.
"It's a workhorse bridge," Koch told the Times. "And that's what I am, I'm a workhorse. Always have been. I feel very compatible with it."
Koch said he was not worried that former Governor Carey's newly named bridge would overshadow his own.
"I have been trying for years to get something named for Hugh Carey," Koch told the Times. "I think he’s the greatest governor of the modern era."
The Ed Koch bridge must be approved by the City Council, but Speaker Christine Quinn was enthusiastic in her support for the renaming, saying that Koch "deserves way more than a street," according to the Times.
The city plans to raise private funds to cover the costs associated with updating street signs to display the bridge's new name. When the Triborough Bridge was renamed the RFK Bridge two years ago, it cost the city approximately $4 million to change road signs, the Times reported.