50 Years at JFK – QNS.com

50 Years at JFK

The great planes fly above our heads, our homes and our highways. The airports of our Borough are a daily part of most of our lives. JFK International Airport has become the gateway to the New World and a new life for millions of visitors and immigrants and these people set their first feet on American soil — on Queens ground — the modern-day Ellis Island.
JFK Airport is many different things to many different people in Queens. It is our largest employer and economic generator.
It is a noisy, air polluting intrusion to others.
It brings prestige on an international scale to our Borough.
It is a confusing, out-of-date mess of an airport.
It gives us local convenience for traveling, doing business or greeting relatives, and friends from afar.
It clogs our highways with airport traffic.
It is all these things and more, but the simple fact is that it is to many of us an accepted backdrop to our lives here in Queens.
To many Manhattanites our Borough is nothing more than the place one passes through to get to the airport. In all of this we mostly forget that this sprawling City of the air is still a magnificent monument to one of the true miracles of our concluding century — the majesty of flight.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of this great airport. The Queens Courier begins this week a regular new series of articles on JFK at 50. Too often forgotten is some of the fascinating history of this Metropolis within a City.
We will explore the early days of aviation in Queens and show how it became an early pioneer in flight from Lindbergh and Howard Hughes to the first landing vehicle on the moon. We will show why and how Queens became the site for both LaGuardia and JFK and the interesting personalities and events that made us eventually the aviation capital of the country. We will explore the airport’s early historic architectural presence, its artistic contributions and how it lost much of that over the years to the point where many compared JFK in recent years to "a third world airport" in efficiency and design. The Queens Courier will also take an up close look at the inside workings of JFK, from security experts to airport traffic controllers, from skycaps to cab drivers, from pilots and airline attendants to the last guy to check your plane before takeoff.
We’ll look at the joy of arriving families reunited with loved ones.at the gate to the tearful farewells. There will be the triumph of its opening by Harry Truman fifty years ago in 1948 to the tragedy of Flight 800.

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