Last month, Governor Cuomo revealed his $4 billion plan to overhaul LaGuardia Airport, the third-worst airport in the country that Vice President Biden recently likened to a third-world country. While today it’s hard to imagine New York City without its sub-par airports (JFK is THE worst airport in the nation), they weren’t always a fixture in the city. In fact, LaGuardia was preceded by a much more modest facility with links to world aviation history — Glenn H. Curtiss Airport. It opened in 1929 as a private airfield off Flushing Bay; became a commercial airport called North Beach in 1935; and a decade later was changed to what we know today when then Mayor La Guardia wanted the city to have its own airport and not have to rely on Newark.
On Monday, resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley shared his thoughts on the the new $4 billion LaGuardia airport proposal, and let’s just say he is not impressed. He feels the design is “especially lackluster and uninspired when compared to many new 21st-century airports” with no “new urban mascot, logo or icon to offer and amuse.” He also believes that the airport absolutely needs a “non-stop ground transit plan to Midtown.” Do you agree with Carter?
Carter Uncut brings New York City’s breaking development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. This week Carter looks at the new $4 billion LaGuardia airport proposal.
The recent announcement by Governor Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden of plans to “rebuild” La Guardia Airport at a cost of $4 billion was described in a Page One caption in The Post as “the end of an error,” a reference to the airport’s reputation that became tarnished over the years. Last October, Biden remarked that if someone had taken him to LaGuardia, he’d think he was in “some Third World country.”
Since its opening in 1939, when it accommodated “flying boats” at its Marine Air Terminal, the airport has not kept up with the growth of jumbo jets and air travel in general, but in the days of the Super Constellation passenger planes with their triple-tails and sloping noses, it was a very nice Art Deco place.
The published renderings that accompanied the announcement were not terribly reassuring, as they depicted a very long curved terminal with gangly tentacles raised over plane taxiways that hinted at torsos of praying mantises: an awkward rather than a graceful vault.
For those of you still flying high over yesterday’s news that LaGuardia Airport would soon be getting a major revamp, here comes some unfortunate news that might bring you back down to earth. As Crain’s reports, Governor Cuomo appears to have grossly underestimated his vision for the upgraded air hub. “According to several sources with direct knowledge of the project,” the paper says, “a new LaGuardia could take more than 10 years to build and cost close to $8 billion”—a price that’s double the Cuomo administration estimates of $4 billion, with at least another five years tacked on to the schedule.
Yesterday, we learned of Governor Cuomo’s plans for a major, $4 billion overhaul of LaGuardia Airport. The project includes consolidating the four terminals, moving the entire facility south, introducing a 24-hour ferry service, and launching AirTrain service that’ll connect travelers to the 7 line in Willet’s Point. Today, however, the revelry took a turn when it was reported that the revamp would actually take ten years and $10 billion. If this is, in fact, the case, that’s a huge chunk of money coming out of the state budget–money that the MTA has long been gunning for in order to update its antiquated system (it’s been running on the same technology since the 1930s) and to close its $15 billion 2015-2019 Capital Plan funding gap, which is still only less than half of the agency’s $34 billion in total debt.
After much anticipation, Governor Cuomo unveiled his plan yesterday to overhaul LaGuardia Airport, which he called “un-New York” in its current state. The $4 billion project includes consolidating the four terminals into one hub and moving the entire facility south the length of two football fields, according to Crain’s. Additionally, Cuomo’s controversial AirTrain, which will connect travelers to the 7 line in Willet’s Point, will be put into effect, as will a 24-hour ferry service that will operate out of the landmarked Art Deco Marine Air Terminal. The development will be handled by LaGuardia Gateway Partners, a new public-private partnership formed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who will oversee the construction, financing, and operation of the new terminal under a 35-year lease.
If you’ve ever endured the long ride to any of the area’s airports, all the while lugging your suitcase and anxiously wondering if you’d miss your flight, then this statistic probably comes as no surprise. According to a study by the Global Gateway Alliance, “John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports rank last and third-to-last, respectively, in mass-transit accessibility compared with 30 of the world’s busiest airports,” reports Crain’s. The analysis looked at total travel time for public transit users, mode of transportation and number of transfers and cost, scoring them from 0 to 100. And if Anthony Weiner is correct, the new LaGuardia AirTrain will only increase travel times–not good news those for us who prefer not to sit in insane taxi traffic or fork over $99 for a private helicopter ride.
Get ready to have your bubble burst. As it turns out, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed AirTrain to LaGuardia would actually increase the time it takes to get to the airport, and for some areas, almost double travel time. The Transport Politic enlightened (and dispirited) hopefuls yesterday in an analysis that highlighted the fact that the new train would would deliver commuters to the 7 subway station at Willets Point, which is further away from Manhattan than the airport. In light of the findings, Anthony Weiner threw in his two cents this morning, penning an op-ed in the Daily News, saying “if we are going to solve this problem, we should do it right.” The former congressman also threw a proposal of his own into the ring.