The old Kosciuszko Bridge is pictured in front of the new Kosciusko Bridge on April 26.
Gov. Cuomo invoked the spirit of Franklin Delano Roosevelt — and brought along the former president’s car — to ceremoniously open the new Kosciuszko Bridge Thursday.
Cuomo arrived at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the bridge driving Roosevelt’s 1932 Packard, which the governor recently had removed from a state museum and restored.
The governor said he wanted to “bring the spirit” of Roosevelt to the new bridge, which his administration is hailing as the first major span built in the city in 53 years.
“FDR had a tremendous positive energy and FDR was all about what we can do,” Cuomo said.
“That spirit is what made New York, New York and that’s the spirit that we have to rekindle in this state,” Cuomo said.
The new bridge, constructed at a cost of $555 million, is the first of two spans being constructed to replace that 78-year-old Kosciuszko which spans Newtown Creek and connects Greenpoint, Brooklyn with Maspeth, Queens.
Once the existing bridge is removed, the second bridge, intended for Brooklyn-bound traffic, will be constructed in its place. It is projected to open in 2020.
Traffic on the new span is expected to start flowing at 11:30 p.m. Thursday. It will carry traffic in both directions until the second bridge is constructed.
The new bridge is also the first span in the city to feature a synchronized LED lighting system, which Cuomo will unveil at 8 p.m. Thursday.
The lighting system is part of Cuomo’s “New York Harbor of Lights” initiative that will include all seven MTA-operated bridges and tunnels and the Port Authority’s George Washington Bridge.
Cuomo hopes the light displays will become a tourist attraction.
The governor hailed the opening of the new Kosciuszko as a milestone in a major, $100 billion, construction program that also includes the Second Avenue Subway, the new Tappan Zee Bridge and the refurbishment of LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy Airports.
“If you want to continue to grow, if you want to continue to lead, then you have to continue to build,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo was introduced at the ceremony by Polish Consul General Maciej Golubiewsk, who hailed the structure as a symbol of New York’s diversity and the close ties between Americans and the Polish community.
The bridge is named for Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a native of Poland who became a hero of the American Revolution.
Cuomo, a Queens native, said the old bridge had become legendary for its massive delays.
“I spent my childhood going back and force across the bridge with our family,” Cuomo said. “The first time I heard my father use expletives was on this bridge.”