|LGA's Marine Terminal/A|
Oldest Operating Air Terminal
Photos: WritersClearhouse News Service
SHIPS IN THE SKY
New York [WC News Service] | I visited another era in air travel yesterday. When planes where known as 'flying boats' and as 'airships,' and, as the old legacy American Airlines used to call them, 'flagships.' Welcome to LaGuardia Airport, America's oldest operating air/water field.
You mean that hodge-podge of buildings known as Terminals B and C? No, those are LGA's newcomers. Thanks to Delta, the real LGA, known as Marine Terminal (Terminal A) is still functioning. More, or less.
That's what I learned yesterday on my mission to discover more about the Marine Terminal, opened in 1939 by then-New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. The extent of Delta's in-coming and out-going seemed dodgy, at best. Yes, there's a counter. Even TSA agents. As for passengers, not so much.
BE SURE TO SEE THE PHOTO GALLERY THAT FOLLOWS BELOW!
The round Art Deco building does house operational staff, a newspaper stand (without customers), and a bank of unused public pay phones that seem, in more than a few ways, as an anachronism of past eras. And a massive block bust of LaGuardia himself.
American Airlines, which still functions from Terminal B and C, has some old skeletons around the airport. Now unused hangars, hulks seemingly from no later than the 1950s
Still, Marine's restaurant, the Yankee Clipper, was humming with lunch-time business. (The cafeteria sited in what is believe to be the first location of American's membership lounge club, the Admiral's Club).
The restaurant overlooks the larger airport space, a conglomeration of the old and the new. Pan American Airlines' original hangar still stands. It used to house the 'flying boats,' huge water-bound air planes that constituted the Pan Am's original fleet. (In 1939, Pan American was known as PAA, and its airships were luxurious monsters that were early precursors to what first class travel is today).
FDR and his team flew from Marine Terminal en route to the Casablanca conference during World War II. It was also the site of other firsts: the first trans-contintental flight and the first round-the-world flight. These, too, were Pan Am achievements.
The Marine Terminal, located in Flushing, Queens, also overlooks the Long Island Sound. And finally, I put two and two together.
I've always wondered about airline adoption naval terminology for their aircraft. 'Cabin,' 'stow,' and 'aft,' and the like are commonplace ones. (True, other terminology is somewhat unique: 'metal,' to designate aircraft and 'livery' for an airline's aircraft logo) Still, why is AA's club, called the 'Admiral's Club'?
'Flagship.' 'Admiral.' Get it?