Don’t Rehab La Guardia Airport. Close It.

A well-reasoned NYTimes Op/Ed by George Haikalis, a civil engineer and transportation planner, correctly notes that closure of LaGuardia Airport needs to be seriously considered. The billions of passenger taxes we might spend on upgrades to the KLGA terminal and other airport facilities would much better be applied to high-speed rail access to JFK and Newark. Both of those major airports have long parallel runways and much higher capacity. Plus, closing LaGuardia not only simplifies the gnarly tangle of air traffic control routes in New York City (which would greatly shorten the JFK approaches), it also brings huge noise relief to tens of thousands of residents. AND, it opens up 680 acres of land for urban redevelopment, much of it waterfront land. The possibilities are great, and need to be widely discussed.

The Op/Ed has generated lots of great comments, including this one from a Canadian. His point is spot on. New York is one of the world’s greatest cities, and for crying out loud, enjoying a good bagel while awaiting an airplane boarding call should be an easy and pleasant experience … especially in New York City!

“There is a little coffee and snacks stand in a hallway in the terminal that also serves bagels. A few years back I ordered a bagel and asked to have it toasted. The one employee, who was behind the cash, pointed me to a toaster placed precariously on one edge of the counter. This wasn’t one of those ones where you can put in several bagels at a time on a chain and watch them disappear and then come out toasted from the bottom, but one of those spring loaded ones many of us have at home. So I lined up behind two other people who were also toasting their bagels until it was my turn. After my bagel popped out it was time to butter it. Security being what it was I was given a plastic knife that was far too bendy to easily lift the frozen butter out from the butter packages I was given and spread it on the bagel, all the while trying to share a tiny space of counter with other bagel buttering customers.
This should not be a major factor in deciding whether to keep La Guardia (although let’s hope they factor it in to any planned upgrades), but this is my chance to say what I should have said then: NEW YORK, YOU ARE ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT CITIES. IT’S TIME YOU GOT DECENT BAGEL BUTTERING FACILITIES IN YOUR AIRPORTS!”