For years, New York's LaGuardia Airport was the butt of jokes and complaints, with then Vice-President Joe Biden saying it reminded him of the Third World. The main terminal was Early Eisenhower, parts of the building were mid-FDR, and year by year everything seemed shabbier and more crowded. Like this:
But many of us New Yorkers loved it: closer than others, more intimate, more hometown, more LaGuardia. Somehow, it was the airport we deserved and the one we loved. And although there was constant talk about upgrades, it never seemed to happen.
Look at all the space...and notice that the scales at the counter are floor-level, no hefting your bag up onto the counter!
But all that's changed and gone. In a whirlwind of construction over the past three years or so, the old terminals are gone, except for the landmark Art Deco Marine Air Terminal; new roads, new garages, and wide open concourses have replaced them.
The gateway to the security area, which used to be a series of partitioned hallways, is open wide with a central area serving all concourses. And all the old arrival and departure boards have been replaced by hi-def flat panels.
Unlike the old terminal's limited glass, there are plenty of big windows for us avgeeks to watch the action.
There's still work going on, but basically: A brand new airport. Bright. Airy. Clean. Just like all the rest of the world's airports. I enjoyed starting a recent flight from there but, perversely, I found myself nostalgic for the way it was.