LaGuardia Airport (LGA) has undergone an amazing transformation over the past decade. The outdated decor and poor design are gone, and in their place are the new Terminal B and Terminal C buildings.
There’s one part of LaGuardia that didn’t get rebuilt, the Marine Air Terminal. Also known as Terminal A, this building sits alone on the west side of the airport.
From the National Park Service:
The Marine Air Terminal at La Guardia Airport in New York City remains the only active airport terminal dating from the first generation of passenger travel in the United States–the “Golden Age of the Flying Boat.” The Marine Air Terminal, an Art Deco building designed in 1939 by William Delano of the firm Delano & Aldrich, is comprised of a central circular core of two stories with an attic from which a rectangular entrance pavilion and two symmetrically opposed one-story wings project. Inside the terminal hangs “Flight,” a mural measuring 12 feet in height and 237 feet in length. Completed by James Brooks in 1940, “Flight” depicts the history of man’s involvement with flight.
This explains why the terminal is still operating as it did in the 1940s.
Arriving at the Marine Air Terminal is a breeze as you take a different exit from the highway than for the rest of the airport. There’s considerably less traffic, and you get dropped off by the main entrance.
In its recent rebirth, the terminal is home to low-cost carriers Spirit and Frontier. In fact, it’s Spirit’s terminal, and Frontier only has 2 gates.
Walking through the main entrance, you’re greeted in the Rotunda by “Flight,” the mural completed in 1940 by James Brooks, which measures 12 feet in height and 237 feet in length. “Flight” depicts the history of man’s involvement with flight
I was happy to read that as part of LaGuardia’s art budget for the new terminals, money was put aside to restore “Flight” to its original state.
Of course, they couldn’t prevent Spirit from placing yellow kiosks around the sides of the rotunda.
Hanging from the ceiling is a model of a Boeing 314 Clipper, one of the flying boats that the Marine Air Terminal was designed to serve.
Once through the main building, the building loses much of its charm. You’ve gone through a time warp from the 1940s back to today.
Flying through LaGuardia’s Marine Air Terminal is a neat experience. For a moment, you can imagine that you’re arriving at the airport, about to board a flying boat that will take off from the nearby Bowery Bay.
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