How Four Port Authority Facilities Got Their Names

By Gregory Quinn, Special to the Port Authority

George Washington Bridge  GWB lit across Hudson
One of the most-used bridges in the world, the double-decked suspension George Washington Bridge connects Northern Manhattan to New Jersey via Interstate 95. The namesake for this bridge is certainly no mystery—but why was it named after our first president? The bridge is situated near Fort Washington in New York and Fort Lee in New Jersey, fortified positions used by General Washington and his American army in order to fend off the British during the Occupation of New York City during the American Revolutionary War. The resistance was unsuccessful of course, and General Washington fled over the river at a point near the present-day bridge.

Goethals Bridge

A steel-truss, cantilever bridge, the Goethals Bridge connects Staten Island to New Jersey via Interstate 278. The Goethals, which opened in 1928, replaced a system of three ferries, and is situated next to the Arthur Kill Rail Bridge. The bridge was named for General George Washington Goethals, a United States Army officer and civil engineer. In addition to serving as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s first consulting engineer, General Goethals is perhaps best known for his administration and supervision on the Panama Canal.  A $1.5 billion project to replace the 87-year-old Goethals Bridge is underway.  The project is the first public private partnership of its kind in the Northeast for surface transportation.

Holland Tunnel

Completed in 1927, the Holland Tunnel connects Interstate 78 in New Jersey with Lower Manhattan. The tunnel remains one of the busiest in the regions, with approximately 35 million automobiles using it each year. It’s named for the tunnel’s Chief Engineer, a Harvard-educated Civil Engineer who would tragically die before he would see his most famous project completed. The tunnel was named for him to honor his work.

Teterboro Airport

Teterboro Airport, located in Northeast New Jersey, is the oldest operating airport in the New York City region; its first flight took off nearly 100 years ago, in 1919. The airport is named after Teterboro, a borough of New Jersey in which part of the airport is located. The borough, in turn, was named for Walter C. Teter, a New York investment banker who purchased the land in 1917, aiming to repurpose marshland in order to build a race track, a golf course, and ultimately the airport.

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