Photo Tour: LaGuardia Airport’s Marine Air Terminal

Marine Air Terminal

Open House New York Weekend took place on October 17-18 opening the doors to hundreds of places, some of which are not usually open to the  public.

One site which comes to mind that has allowed access for the past few years is the TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport. It was open again this year for the last time before it is turned into a hotel. You can take a photo tour in my post, Step Back in Time: TWA Flight Center which we visited a couple of years back.

Kim, Lucas and I had a very busy day on the first day of OHNY, visiting a bunch of sites in Queens. On Sunday we made a quick stop at a quirky museum in Brooklyn which wasn’t charging admission due to OHNY.

You can check out our plans for Open House New York Weekend which  included a visit to LaGuardia Airport’s Marine Air Terminal.

This year we came up with a plan which worked out very well. We started off our busy day enjoying OHNY by visiting the Marine Air Terminal.

While you can visit the terminal all of the time and even catch a flight out of there, OHNY had some volunteers on hand with info about the building including its history.

Here is a photo-tour of the LGA Marine Air Terminal.

When we turned onto the aptly named Marine Terminal Rd we knew that we were getting close. There wasn’t any signs along the way mentioning Open House New York so I drove around the terminal one time before deciding to park in the lot just in front. (I think it cost $4 for 30 minutes in the lot. We didn’t rush and this seemed like more than enough time to get a good look around.)

The building caught our eye right away with all of the detailing due to its art deco design. The terminal was designed in 1939 and the first flight took off a year later.

It’s also quite historic. According to the NPS, it’s “the only active airport terminal dating from the first generation of passenger travel in the United States–the “Golden Age of the Flying Boat.” (Look for an old photograph of the Clipper plane which flew out of the terminal below.)

I loved these doors which are also located inside of the building. Check out the wings above the actual doors. Talk about style!

When we got through the doors, we were really impressed by a few things.

I don’t remember if the hanging model Clipper or giant mural caught my attention more. Either way, the whole rotunda is an impressive site to see!

The mural, which is called “Flight” goes completely around the room. It’s 12 feet high and goes around 237 feet. It was completed by James Brooks in 1940 and “depicts the history of man’s involvement with flight.”

Kim and I immediately both thought it had a Eastern European feel to it, quite like statues and art that we’ve seen (and enjoyed) in places like Hungary, Bulgaria & Latvia.

The statue in the middle of the room is a bust of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. It was while LaGuardia was in office that the 40,000,000 LGA airport was built- the most expensive of its time! (Just look at it now… )

We wandered through the “Departures” area and it led to a check-in area for the Delta Shuttle. This area didn’t feel quite like the rotunda and other main areas did and seemed like any other check-in. (We only walked in and took a peak so it is possible that we missed some old detailing.)

The “telephones” area was empty besides an ATM. The opening on the right didn’t have a sign above so I’m not sure what it was used for.

We then went into the restaurant area called the Yankee Clipper after the first plane to take flight from the Marine Air Terminal.

Inside, historic photos with some information is on the walls.

Here is a photo of the first plane to take off (from the water) at the terminal, the Yankee Clipper.

I also loveed seeing these wooden benches with the propeller detail on each end. My guess is that the propellers were decorated on the benches due to the Clipper.

Before heading back to my car, I decided that it would be fun to jump in front of the Marine Air Terminal. This took a couple of minutes due to taxis coming by to drop passengers off…

Visiting the terminal is like stepping back in time. If you’re at LaGuardia Airport and have some spare time, it’s defintely worth checking out!

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