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New York’s First Airport Takes Off!

May 2012

The US National Park Service has just celebrated the opening of a new visitor center in the restored Floyd Bennett Field air terminal in Brooklyn, New York City’s first municipal airport.

Since 2008, I have been working as project curator with the Park Service team and my colleagues —   architectural partner Acheson Doyle and Partners (New York) and design partner Origin Studios (Ottawa)  —   in providing a new interpretive program to inhabit the renovation of the first floor of the famous terminal.

In the 1930s, passenger air travel was still a novelty associated with the glamour and exciting pace of modern life.  Floyd Bennett Field was designed to be the most modern airport in the world.  With its stylish terminal, complete range of services for passengers and aircraft, and state-of-the-art paved runways, Floyd Bennett Field was an impressive gateway for entry to the nation's largest city.

The new visitor center, which serves as the hub linking a network of New York’s Gateway Parks, now features a dedicated display space featuring highlights from the collection associated with the sensationalized record-breaking flights and daredevil stunts performed at Floyd Bennett Field in its heyday, an interactive multimedia aviation discovery zone for kids and young people, as well as orientation spaces to foster live interpretation about the natural history of the Gateway sites.