2. Midtown’s Rooftop Airport

Rendering by iProspect

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, Zeckendorf’s $3 billion project–an astronomical sum today, let alone in the 1940s–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 and 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.