laguardia airport rendering 1A.JPGRendering of LaGuardia’s Main Gate (via Global Gateway Alliance)

We can only hope that LaGuardia airport will look this good by 2021.These renderings, created by the creative studio Neoscape, via commission by the Global Gateway Alliance, shows a much different and much better looking LaGuardia Airport.

The Alliance, an establishment that tackles the problems concerning major metropolitan airports, commissioned these renderings as a proposal to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who will soon choose a design firm to carry out the remodeling of the airport, first announced in 2010. The Alliance’s vision for the airline is to help erase the current “third-world country” comparison made by VP Joe Biden last month during a visit to the Airport.


TWA Terminal JFK Airport NYC 1964 Untapped CitiesTWA Terminal at JFK Airport circa 1964 via Flickr user amphalon. The photograph was taken by Balthazar Korab, a Hungarian-born architectural photographer who documented the work of Eero Saarinen. 

What we now know as John F. Kennedy International Airport was constructed as Idlewild Airport in 1942 on top of the Idlewild golf course in Queens. The project was undertaken to relieve LaGuardia Airport (built in 1939) of some of its traffic, as it quickly became too crowded. The original plans called for a modest 1,000 acre airport, but by the time construction was finished, the airport had grown to 4,930 acres with over thirty miles of roadway. Commercial flights began in July 1948.

In 1943, the airport was actually renamed Major General Alexander E. Anderson Airport after the Queens resident who had commanded the Federalized National Guard and died in 1942. In 1948, the City Council renamed it New York International Airport, Anderson Field, but people continued to call it Idlewild.  (more…)

LaGuardia Airport-Boundaries-Runway Extension-2013-Rikers Island-Queens-NYC

While researching the WPA-style wastewater treatment plant in Astoria, we came across this proposal to extend LaGuardia Airport’s runways. The Draft Environmental Assessment was completed in August 2013 for public review and the public comment period just ended on September 23rd.  While the reason behind the extension is pretty standard airport safety stuff, it was the map that surprised us. The boundaries of LaGuardia Airport extend into the water and basically touch Rikers Island, although nothing is built there currently!

Back to the proposal, the 180 feet extension on two runways responds to a Congressional mandate to increase the size of runway safety areas for emergency purposes. The runways in question are currently built over the water and are shorter than the new standard.


Manhattan heliport Pier 6 Wall Street Untapped Cities The downtown Manhattan heliport sits on the East River at Pier 6, near Wall Street. Source: Joel Raskin.  

A frequent sight on the New York skyline over the Hudson and East Rivers, helicopters seem as native to the city as seagulls and pigeons. These aircrafts share the airspace with commercial liners and smaller private planes. But with so many usages–personal, commercial, medical, corporate–helicopter travel is far from the strictly-monitored system we’d expect over one of the world’s transportation hubs (as evidenced by a series of crashes and emergency landings in the past decade).

A deadly crash over the Hudson between a sightseeing helicopter and a plane in 2009 prompted the Federal Aviation Administration set new flight regulations in the flight corridors of Manhattan’s rivers. The area from the southern end of Governors Island to the northern tip of Roosevelt Island makes up the East River Visual Flight Rules (VFR) corridor. The Hudson River VFR corridor stretches the length of Manhattan. In these zones, any licensed pilots can fly a registered aircraft up to 1,500 feet. Pilots are not required to be in contact with air traffic control, and simply avoid other aircrafts that they see.  (more…)

4-abandoned town-airport-paris-los angeles-untapped cities-wesley yiin
Source: Messy Nessy Chic

Goussainville-Vieux Pays was once a farming village north of central Paris but it’s now a ghost town. It was abandoned in 1972, according to Messy Nessy Chic, when Charles de Gaulle Airport opened. Goussainville fell right under its flight path. Residents who were able to stand the constant noise of low-flying planes still ended up leaving a year later, when tragedy struck: during the Salon de Bourget airshow, a Soviet plane crashed into the town, crushing multiple houses and a school, killing all six passengers and eight townspeople on the ground. Messy Nessy Chic’s photographs show an abandoned chateau, a historic 14th century Renaissance church and vintage street signage.


NYC’s “Dream Airport” would “bring air service right into the heart of New York City and eliminate the necessity of limousine travel to and from existing airports,” LIFE reported in 1946. Source: Ptak Science.

Delta Airlines has a new rooftop lounge at JFK, but there could have been an entire rooftop airport in midtown Manhattan had one proposal for “New York City’s Dream Airport” been successful.

The 990-acre Manhattan Airport was the brainchild of real-estate mogul William Zeckendorf, who also owned the Chrysler Building and Astor Hotel. According to a 1946 LIFE article (via Ptak Science), Zeckendorf’s $3 billion project–an astronomical sum today, let alone in the 1940’s–would have stretched 144 blocks from 24th to 71st Streets and 9th Ave to the Hudson River at 200 feet above street level. The building below would have contained restaurants, business, waiting rooms and ticket offices, much like Port Authority or Penn Station do today. Not only could the airport accomodate air travel, but it also had piers for ships to anchor. An estimated 68 planes an hour could take off across the runway, compared to the 71 per hour at LaGuardia and 89 per hour at Newark and JFK(more…)