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New York Nixes Brooklyn’s ‘Oy Vey’ Sign

January 19, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) _ ``Oy vey″ was too meshugga for the city Transportation Department. The department said Monday it rejected a request from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz for a sign on the Williamsburg Bridge reading ``Leaving Brooklyn: Oy Vey!″

The agency felt the sign _ featuring the Yiddish phrase for ``oh, woe″ _ would be more distracting than helpful to Manhattan-bound motorists.

``‘Oy vey’ was originally a Jewish phrase, but everyone knows what it means and it’s now a common Brooklyn expression _ part of that Brooklyn attitude,″ said Markowitz, a Brooklyn native. ``All I’m trying to do is put a smile on people’s faces. I’m sorry if the DOT has no sense of humor.″

The city earlier nixed a sign reading ``Leaving Brooklyn: Fuhgeddaboudit!″ at the Verazzano Narrows Bridge for what agency spokesman Tom Cocola said was the same reason: ``a lack of directional information.″

While the ``Fuhgeddaboudit!″ sign was criticized by some as an anti-Italian slur, Cocola said any concern that the ``Oy Vey″ sign might offend Brooklyn’s large Jewish community was not part of the agency’s decision.

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