A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 30, 2007
Guinea Gangplank or Guinea Gang Plank (Verrazano-Narrows Bridge)

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (usually called simply “the Verrazano") opened in 1964 and connects Staten Island with Brooklyn. The bridge has been called the “Guinea Gangplank” (also “Guinea Gang Plank,” “Guintified Gangplank,” and “Ginny") because of Staten Island’s many Italian residents, especially those coming from Brooklyn. “Guinea” is an ethnic slur for an Italian, and, in recent years, some have referred to Staten Island as “Staten Italy.”


Wikipedia: Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge that connects the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn in New York City at the Narrows, the reach connecting the relatively protected upper bay with the larger lower bay.

The bridge is named for Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first known European navigator to enter New York Harbor and the Hudson River, while crossing The Narrows. It has a center span of 4,260 feet (1,298 m) and was the largest suspension bridge in the world from the time of its completion in 1964 until 1981. It now has the seventh longest center span in the world but still is the largest suspension bridge in the United States. Its massive towers can be seen throughout a good part of the New York metropolitan area, including from spots in all five boroughs of New York City.

The bridge furnishes a critical link in the local and regional highway system. It is widely known today as the starting point of the New York City Marathon. The bridge marks the gateway to New York Harbor; all cruise ships and most container ships arriving at the Port of New York and New Jersey must pass underneath the bridge. Most ships, when built, must be built to accommodate the clearance under the bridge. Among local residents it is often referred to as simply the “Verrazano.”

Google Books
Fame and Obscurity: Portraits
by Gay Talese
New York, NY: World
1970
Pg. 201:
Name it the Staten Island Bridge. ... and they took to calling it the “Guinea Gangplank.”

Google Books
Queer in America:
Sex, the Media, and the Closets of Power
by Michelangelo Signorile
New York, NY: Random House
1993
Pg. 22:
We moved to Staten Island when I was eight, becoming the first unit of our (...) an exodus that caused some bigots to dub the bridge the “Guinea Gangplank. 

Google Groups: nyc.transit
Newsgroups: nyc.transit
From: (Paul Heymont)
Date: 1995/08/29
Subject: Re: Staten Island (was: Re: Save the NYC Subways!)

There’s some irony in the idea that many of the new settlers were fleeing what they perceived as “them” (black citizens) by crossing what many Staten Islanders referred to as the “Guinea Gangplank”... 

Google Books
The Color of Words:
An Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Ethnic Bias in the United States
by Philip Herbst
Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press
1997
Pg. 97:
The Verrazano Bridge was named for the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano, who sailed up the east coast of North America in 1524. It links Staten Island, New York (with a large population of people of Italian descent) and Long Island (sic), New York, and was nicknamed “the Guinea gangplank.”

Google Groups: misc.transport road
Newsgroups: misc.transport.road
From: George Kowal
Date: 1999/10/15
Subject: Re: Proper way to pronounce “Goethals Bridge”

> > As for Staten Island’s other bridges, Bayonne and Outerbridge Crossing
> > are pretty much unambiguous.

> > For Verrazanno Narrows, however, I have
> > heard the Z pronounced either as a Z or as a TS, like in pizza.

Everybody around here calls it the “Guinea Gangplank”.

Live Search Books
Italian American Experience:
An Encyclopedia
Frank J. Calvaioli, Salvatore J. LaGumina, Salavore Primeggia, Joseph A. Varacalli, editors
New York, NY: Garland Publishing, Inc.
2000
Pg. 320:
Into the 1980s, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was called “The Guinea Gangplank” in CB radio jargon, which referred to the migration of Italian Americans from Brooklyn to Staten Island facilitated by the span. 

Google Groups: alt.rock-n-roll.metal.oldschool
Newsgroups: alt.rock-n-roll.metal.oldschool
From: “Neil Colepsy”
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 08:16:06 -0400
Local: Mon, Aug 13 2001 7:16 am
Subject: Re: Oz & Sods

We were crossing The Verrazano Bridge at this point (The Guinea Gang Plank) into Staten Island. 

Google Groups: alt.elvis.king
Newsgroups: alt.elvis.king
From: (Broadway)
Date: 18 Jan 2004 14:39:15 GMT
Local: Sun, Jan 18 2004 9:39 am
Subject: Re: Elvis Movies

I know your prestigious blood line probably left good ‘ol Brooklyn for that the trip over The Guinea Gangplank to the world’s most toxic garbage dump, the joke of New York...no wait....even worse, they were part of the mass exodus of cheap-ass guineas that didn’t even benefit from the Verrazano Bridge, they boated over in the forties and fifties, thinking they were gonna get something
for nothing in Staten Island. The Big Dream. 

Google Groups:misc.transport.road
Newsgroups: misc.transport.road
From: George Kowal
Date: Wed, 07 Apr 2004 07:29:10 GMT
Local: Wed, Apr 7 2004 2:29 am
Subject: Re: Simple routing question: I-80/380 to Brooklyn

Mitsguy2001 wrote:
>>You don’t pay a toll going Eastbound over the “Ginny”

> What is the “Ginny”?  I’ve never heard that nickname used for any bridge in the
> area.

Well I could’ve spelled it the “Guinea” Gangplank, but that is and has historically been the official unofficial name for the Verrazano Bridge since before the days that Columbus sailed down Route 22. 

Google Groups: misc.transport.road
Newsgroups: misc.transport.road
From: George Kowal
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 04:55:52 GMT
Local: Mon, May 10 2004 11:55 pm
Subject: Re: Help w/ driving from Newark, NJ to Baldwin, NY

This way you just stay on I-278 East through Staten Island, go over the Verazzano Bridge (aka “Gintified Gangplank” by local lingo), left lanes coming off either the top or bottom lanes of the bridge go directly onto the Belt Parkway, and follow that East to LI. 

Google Groups: nyc.transit
Newsgroups: nyc.transit, misc.transport.road
From: GK
Date: Sun, 28 May 2006 16:30:03 GMT
Local: Sun, May 28 2006 11:30 am
Subject: Re: [New York Sun] Does New York Suffer From A Soviet Traffic System? 

Many times I’ve done the trip especially since it’s shorter and yes that $9 cash or $8 EZ Pass one way Westbound toll on the Verrazzano Gangplank is a big incentive to avoid. 

Newsgroups: alt.rock-n-roll.metal.oldschool
From: “Dirt Nap”
Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2006 13:30:25 -0500
Local: Sat, Nov 25 2006 1:30 pm
Subject: Re: ARRMO T-Day

It’s an old Brooklyn joke from all the migratory guineas who fled and bought houses in Staten Island. That’s when the Verrazano bridge got it’s nickname (The Guinea Gang Plank) in the late 80’s and the diehards who stayed in Brooklyn goofed that they moved all the way out there just to live next to the Freshkill dump. That’s where the Twin Towers debris sits and it’s one of the things that the astronauts can spot from space in the Space Shuttle.

Google Groups: misc.transport.road
Newsgroups: misc.transport.road
From: GK
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 09:48:11 GMT
Local: Wed, Apr 25 2007 4:48 am
Subject: Re: Bloomberg Memorial Tunnel, $8 Manhattan Toll

If you want me to consider avoiding crossing lower Manhattan on the westbound return, take the ridiculous tolls off the Verrazano Bridge. That would take a lot of traffic out of Manhattan. Notice I said take the tolls off, not change the toll structure. Even then the westbound Guinea Gangplank and SI expressway would just get more clogged pissing off the local NIMBY’s in SI, but it would take very much traffic out of Manhattan.

Google Groups: misc.transport.road
Newsgroups: misc.transport.road
From: GK
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 10:31:48 GMT
Local: Wed, Apr 25 2007 5:31 am
Subject: Re: Bloomberg Memorial Tunnel, $8 Manhattan Toll

STIsland is there. The Guintified Gangplank toll needs to be done away with in order to clear much crosstown traffic out of Manhattan. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTransportation • (1) Comments • Friday, November 30, 2007 • Permalink


Was in the Coast Guard on Staten Island in 1960 and remember it was called the Ginny Gangplank back then.  Left the island before it was finished, but have seen pictures of it. Nice.

Posted by Castnet  on  11/22  at  02:12 PM

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