A few weeks ago, while rushing to the shuttle at Laguardia, I entered the Marine Air Terminal, and I was treated to the most visually delightful space. Inside the circular, deco era structure I found a fantastic mural atop a handsome marbled rotunda, a bright oculus dominating the ceiling. Hanging from the center is a scale model of the Yankee Clipper.
I had previously rushed through the space but this time it registered differently, as all of LaGuardia is under construction and I feared the wrecking ball for this piece of aviation history. Not to worry – the terminal has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982. William Delano of the firm Delano & Aldrich designed the Marine Air Terminal Art Deco building in 1939. It was originally built to handle seaplanes, and it enjoys the distinction of being the only airport in the US still active today from the “Golden Age of the Flying Boat.”
The powerful mural, “Flight” which surrounds the space was created by James Brooks, completed in 1940. It documents the history of man and flight. Measuring 12 feet high by 237 feet long, it is the largest mural created as part of the Works Progress Administration. The WPA employed millions of people during the Great Depression to carry out public projects. .
David Sprouls, President of the New York School of Interior Design, ranked the #1 interior design program in the U.S. opined on the important work,
“An excellent example of inspired art in the civic realm, this iconic WPA mural has welcomed countless travelers, celebrating the history, science, and excitement of flight. The mural, so integral to the interior, makes this space a true Moderne gem.”
Although Delta Airlines, who ran shuttles in and out of the bustling terminal for years, has exited to the main terminal to consolidate their services, we are thrilled to report that JetBlue has taken over the terminal. Lisa Reifer, vice president, infrastructure, properties and development, keenly observed, “The Marine Air Terminal is LaGuardia’s secret oasis and full of historic charm – perfect for JetBlue customers traveling in and out of LaGuardia.” It is a fitting home for the concern known as “New York’s Hometown airline.”
It is such fun to look back to the fashion of early travel when women dressed to the nines, in haute couture and stylish chapeaus. It was a glamourous, heady time in aviation history. Fast forward to today when one rarely sees this level of flying fashion. Which brings us to one of our favorite subjects, “What to Wear on the Plane,” a chapter in our book, “Packing for Travel”
From the book, “The voyage begins on the plane so dress for it. Save your sweat suits for the gym, and please no pajama looking things. We have all seen our share of inadvisable travel wear, and have concluded that there is no reason to look anything but chic and stylish. Start with items that have a little stretch, such as knits. Cotton knits work well in the summer and wool and heavier fabric when traveling to and from colder climes. We recommend pants with some lycra, a knit top paired with a jacket or cardigan, and a scarf or pashmina. It is a good idea to wear your bulkiest items on the plane. We cannot overemphasize the importance of layering, as cabin temperatures can be frosty, even in summer. For footwear, we like flats, wedges or small heels in either shoes or boots.”
Hilary and her chic rolling cat bag.
Hilary is traveling from north to south this holiday and dressing on the plane needs some strategizing. “I like to keep it simple, comfortable and chic when I fly. I definitely do not wear sweatpants or leggings. When heading south I wear a mix of warm weather items with my cold NYC go to’s. White jeans are easy and go well with any color and I will wear them in Florida. I usually pair them with a button down or light turtleneck so as not to be too hot when I reach the south. And even when flying, I wear a shoe with a heel like these boots. A light colored scarf is key as it can be chilly on board, and the Glamourpuss poncho, is perfect for coming and going. I also am one of those people who travels with their pet .. I bring my cat .. so I don’t like my carry-on to be too heavy. This white tote is perfect for Florida and holds all my essentials, wallet, computer, headphones and a good romance novel. I am ready for take off.
Sadie helps with packing.
I am traveling west to ski, so my cold to cold climate travel is a tad less complicated but quite a bit more bulky. It is tough to pack lightly when you are toting ski boots and helmet, but I managed to get it all into to a duffle bag with the help of Sadie, my Brittany. I couldn’t travel in winter without a cosy vest. This Glamourpuss fur is just the thing to wear on the plane and then out on the town to glam up your black pants and evening top.
Arriving in Aspen, we brought the snow.
Fiorello Laguardia receives an appreciative peck from an AA Stewardess
From the Queens Gazette comes an amusing anecdote about the airport, “The genesis of the airport, according to one story, can be traced to a 1934 flight taken by then-Mayor Fiorello La Guardia back to his home city. The hyperactive little mayor, flying back on a ticket listing “New York” as the destination, refused to leave the plane when he learned it had actually landed at Newark Airport. Faced with his adamant refusal, the airline finally flew him to an airfield in Brooklyn, whereupon descending from the plane the Mayor declared that New York needed its own airport, newer and better. And he had it built.”
While the “Golden Age of Travel” may be in the distant past, it is worth a trip to Queens where one can still experience the romance of early aviation at the Marine Air Terminal.