The longest bridge in New York State from 1955 until it was replaced in 2017 was the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge, or the abbreviated Tappan Zee. I’ve crossed this bridge countless times, but don’t remember the occasion of the last time I crossed it. I do know that it was sometime in 2017, when I was working for a company out of Pearl River, New York. Yesterday they blew up a section of this bridge and let it splash down into the Hudson River. I happened to be about ten miles away from there when it came down, as I’m working for another company based in nearby Mahwah, New Jersey. The demolition didn’t take down the entire structure. There’s still a span that will be dismantled instead of blown up.
For me the Tappan Zee was the alternative to the George Washington Bridge further downstream for most of my travel from New England to points south. Mostly that meant New Jersey or Philadelphia, but sometimes it meant trips to Washington, DC or Florida. Crossing the Hudson is a key part of any travel West or South from New England, and the Tappan Zee was usually the less congested alternative to the GW. None of this means much really, but for me the trips across the Tappan Zee on my way to the Dad Vail Regatta were particularly meaningful. I was awestruck the first time I crossed this huge span of the Hudson River, seeing the red cliffs lining the opposite side. The GW gives you Manhattan views. The Tappan Zee gives you the mighty Hudson in all its glory.
The new bridge crosses right next to the location of the older bridge. It’s a fine thing, and I’m sure it was worth the $4 Billion they spent on it. Candidly it doesn’t have the same hold on me that the old bridge did. But I hope it lasts every bit as long as it’s predecessor.