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LaGuardia Airport (Images of Aviation) (Inglés) Tapa blanda – oct 2008

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Title: 'LaGuardia Airport' Traces Aviation History
Author: Linda J. Wilson
Publisher: The Queens Gazette
Date: 2/4/2009

Late this past November, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced it is authorizing a $40 million study for a new design to replace the 45-year-old central terminal at LaGuardia Airport, which handles some 12 million passengers a year. Construction could take as long as eight years, due in part to the difficulty of building a replacement in the cramped airport while the old building is still functioning.

The new terminal is the latest chapter in the history of the former New York Municipal Airport, born when then New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, returning from a vacation, refused to deplane at Newark, New Jersey, claiming that his ticket said "New York" and there and only there would he consider his journey to have ended. La Guardia did, indeed, land in New Yorkaat Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, but the small field was too far from Manhattan to meet the needs of commercial airlines and their passengers. La Guardia cast about him for a better place to put a municipal airfield and decided on Glenn Curtiss Airport at North Beach on the shore of Flushing Bay.

The story of how Glenn Curtiss Airport became New York Municipal Airport and finally LaGuardia Airport is told in an eponymous recent addition to Arcadia Publishing's Images of Aviation series by Joshua Stoff, curator of the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island and a noted aviation historian and prolific author. In five chapters, Before LaGuardia: 1928-1939, The Beginning: 1939-1940, Taking Off: 1941-1950, Entering the Jet Age: 1951-1965 and LaGuardia in theModern Era: 1966--, Stoff, through a plenitude of photographs from the extensive archives of the Cradle of Aviation Museum as well as the Port Authority Archives (most previously unpublished), describes how one of America's busiest airports has been witness to the growth and development of American commercial aviation, from flying boats to jetliners.

Between 1890 and 1925, North Beach was a popular amusement park, and the trolley and rail lines that brought revelers to its gates would later prove an asset for its metamorphosis into a major airport. In the mid 1920s, the Curtiss-Wright Corporation bought the site and turned it into a 200-acre general aviation field that could also handle seaplanes, the "flying boats" of their era.

Still smarting from the indignity of almost having to deplane in New Jersey, La Guardia (the mayor) bought Curtiss Airport and lost no time in becoming the first mayor of a major United States city to enlist the federal government in building and paying for most of the new facility. Stoff relates that in its turn, the federal government built New York Municipal Airport "partly to create new jobs during the Depression and partly because it wanted to develop America's commercial transportation system."

New York Municipal Airport featured innovative terminal design that kept arriving and departing passengers separated on two levels for greater efficiency, terminals adorned with Art Deco details and fine restaurants and a rooftop viewing promenade as well as many technological details that made flying safer and less expensive. When it opened in October 1939, it was the largest, most advanced commercial airport in the world.

Change, swiftand sudden, came upon the new airport almost as soon as the first planes took off and landed on its two runways. The new airport was rechristened LaGuardia Airport after the mayor, who had been a bomber pilot in World War I and whose interest in aviation lasted throughout his lifetime, barely a month after it opened.

The name change was a harbinger of things to come. In its 70 years of existence, LaGuardia Airport has been continually remodeled, expanded and revamped. Indeed, its history parallels that of the American commercial aviation industrya expanding, growing and constantly developing new technology and the expertise to deal with it.

Through the 1940s and '50s, the American commercial aviation industry grew and expanded at a rapid pace and LaGuardia was hard pressed to keep up. "Considered a very large airport at the time it was built, by the late 1940s, LaGuardia became the world's busiest airport and was clearly too small for the amount of air traffic it was beginning to handle," Stoff notes. He goes on to note that LaGuardia Airport suffers from a unique problem: It was built with limited surrounding land available for expansion. Its runways were too short to handle jet aircraft and had to be expanded the only way possiblea adding 2,000 feet to each runway and taxiway on steel piers extending into Flushing Bay. It is still burdened with having the shortest runways of any American commercial airport.

By the 1960s, jet aircraft and deregulation had led to economy fares at lower cost that made air travel accessible to nearly everyone and helped bring about the demise of the image of expensive air travel. "But the image of the sleek, silver airlinerestablished in the glamorous 1950s had become an accepted feature of contemporary American lifeaan iconic image of the air age that still remains," Stoff reminds the reader.

Aside from the Introduction, in LaGuardia Airport, Stoff confines his narrative to captions of the many photographs found on the book's 128 pages. The student of aviation history will find it a treasure trove of information and other readers will enjoy revisiting the long-vanished era of commercial aviation in its infancy and following its progress to the beginning of the contemporary era.

Title: Book Chronicles The Glory Days Of Flight
Author: Joseph Orovic
Publisher: Queens Tribune
Date: 10/23/2008

Think of the hours before a flight from LaGuardia. You anticipate the security checks, baggage hassles, seemingly endless lines, crying babies and cramped seats (that's if your flight isn't delayed or cancelled). Has the dread crept in yet?

Now imagine a time when the airport was the cat's meow. Throngs gathered to watch planes like exotic birds. Ooo's and Aaah's filled the air, children laughed and if hunger struck, you gladly grabbed a meal in the terminal. It's not a fairy tale.

Joshua Stoff invokes such days in "LaGuardia Airport," a collection of photographs beginning with the airport's construction in 1939 and chronicling an era of friendly skies we will never see again.

"People actually enjoyed flying, believe it or not," said Stoff, who is also the curator of the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Long Island.

The author and airport go back almost five decades to Stoff's childhood, when his parents would take him to a "day at the airport." There, he stood atop the long-gone promenade and gawked in awe at the fleet of planes a stone's throwaway.

"Parking wasn't a problem. There were fewer flights, fewer people, everyone dressed up," Stoff said. "Going to the airport was an event."

Inside the terminal, travelers and visitors were greeted with art deco architecture. Terminals were filled with high-end retailers like Cartier. Flying, at the time, belonged
to the rich and pampered.

And pampered they were.

"Every passenger was first class," Stoff said.

Leg room? Try a full bed. No unbearable meals. Passengers ate gourmet cuisine prepared in the airplane's galley and served in a restaurant style dining area. The posh bathrooms actually required more than one baby step to enter and didn't induce claustrophobia.

Steeped in nostalgia, the book also brings back LaGuardia's golden age as the busiest
airport in the world (before John F. Kennedy International stole the spotlight). It was so important, the military shored up the airport with anti-aircraft guns following Pearl Harbor.

The book itself represents a defense of history. In researching the book in 2000, Stoff combed the archives of the Port Authority and copied archival photos of the airport.
Those same photos were lost after the attacks on Sept. 11,2001 but remained preserved
in the book.

Today, Stoff says not much can be done to bring back LaGuardia's fledgling days. Flight has become the domain of the many.

"It's totally oversaturated, but there's not much that can be done at this point," Stoff

The skies are now about quantity, not quality. Unlike his book.

Reseña del editor

Constructed closer to Manhattan than the commercially unsuccessful Floyd Bennett Field, LaGuardia Airport was conceived in the mid-1930s as New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia realized the need for a great airport for one of the world's great cities. Originally known as New York Municipal Airport, the popular airport soon had its name changed to recognize LaGuardia's enormous contribution to the project. At the time of its opening in 1939, it was the largest and most advanced commercial airport in the world with terminals considered art deco masterpieces. Although a very large airport for the era in which it was built, by the late 1940s it was the world's busiest airport and clearly too small for the increasing amount of air traffic. Through the years its runways were lengthened and facilities were improved to handle larger and faster aircraft. Still one of America's busiest airports, LaGuardia has witnessed the steady progress of American commercial aviation, from flying boats to jetliners.

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