1518 Everyone into the Pool
They’re going to rebuild LaGuardia Airport. Really. Finally. Going to tear it down and start over. Remake it from scratch, all while it’s in use.
So, let’s start a pool. The planners tell us the project will cost four billion dollars and take three years.
What do you think? How much longer and how much more will it take and cost?
Based on the history of major airport renovations in New York (and Denver,) it’ll take and cost at least twice the estimates. The baggage carousels won’t work. And the runways will still require planes with pontoons.
The Marine Air Terminal, a historic site, will remain where it is and as it is after preservationists have a shot at deifying every last crumbled piece of concrete, every inch of substandard plumbing and wiring and every broken window in one of the top ten ugliest and least useful manmade structures of all time.
And when they try to extend the runways, which they desperately need to, there will be another upheaval because someone will have discovered that there’s an ancient burial ground 50 feet out in the bay.
Vice president Biden says landing at LaGuardia you think you’re arriving in the airport of a third world country. And while there are those who believe New York IS a third world country, Biden is right.
LaGuardia consistently ranks among the worst American airports for everything from delays to lost baggage to crowding to lack of pre or post flight public transportation to looks, smells, and sounds.
You can imagine Fiorello getting off a plane (he’d have ridden in economy and didn’t need extra leg room so de-planing would take awhile) and saying “I don’t make many mistakes, but when I do, it’s a beaut.”
(LaGuardia first said that in 1941 when questioned about a bad judge he’d appointed earlier.)
In any event, after all the overruns and delays, the snarled ground traffic, the noise abatement noise, the burial ground, I’m in the pool for $8 billion and six years. How about you?
While we wait to see who is right about cost and time, here are some candidates for the dozen ugliest and least useful important American man made structures of all time.
12. The Sloan Building at MIT
10. St. Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre NY/ Temple Beth El, Great Neck NY (tie)
9. Disneyworld, Orlando
8. Cabrini Houses, Chicago
7. The original Penn Station, New York (and please, no sentimentalist baloney about that one. It was ugly and dirty, badly run as LaGuardia is now.)
6. The Marine Air Terminal
5. Creedmoor Psychiatric Center
4. The entire city of Miami
3. Beaver Stadium, State College PA
2. One World Trade Center (sentimental favorite)
1. Bloomberg headquarters, 731 Lexington Avenue.
Here are some honorable mentions: The Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Javits Center, Mount Sinai Hospital (New York), the entire city of Elizabeth NJ, Manhattan’s Trump and Olympic Towers, all of Daly City, California and the city halls of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Portland, Oregon; Portland, Maine, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Las Vegas and any city anywhere named Springfield or Albany.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2015