“This terminal is the absolute best,” “as good as it gets,” and is cool, “like Mad Men Cool,” rave just some of the latest Yelp reviewers of the Marine Air Terminal (MAT). But while majority of Yelpers give this terminal five stars for its short lines, nice workers, leather seats, and plethora of quality newspapers, we love it for something a little bit more different. Its art and history. There may be other places in the country worth noting, say Kitty Hawk, North Carolina or Columbus, Ohio, but only one place truly holds the essence of the golden age of travel. Terminal A at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
Not surprisingly, in 1982 MAT’s grandeur earned it a place on the Historical Register of Historic Places. Although we recommend that you experience the MAT for yourself, here are 5 need-to-know-facts of the historic site:
- Terminal A, MAT, opened on March 31, 1940.
- It was designed by William Delano, a renowned architect commissioned by the Rockefeller family among others. Though it is small in comparison to today’s airport terminals, the MAT was intended to reflect the high level of class soon to be offered on transatlantic flights.
- On the same day, Pan America launched their FIRST luxury transatlantic flight to Lisbon, Portugal. The plane that flew that day was a double decker Boeing 314. This iconic airplane had a short time in history, but forever changed air travel as passengers could now reach the far ends of the earth in days while having access to a dining room and private compartments.
- In the main lobby, there once was a circular ticket counter that sat in the middle of the rotunda. That ticket counter is the only thing missing from the original state of the terminal. Today, a large bust of Fiorello La Guardia stands in its place.
- “Flight,” a 12 foot tall mural, by James Brooks circles the main lobby. The mural was completed in 1940 as part of the Work Projects Administration during the Great Depression. The mural pays homage to Da Vinci, the Wright Brothers, and Pan Am.
If you are flying on a shuttle service to another major city in the North East from LGA, chances are you’ll come here anyways, but if you’re at another terminal, don’t worry! Shuttles run every 10 minutes, so you can take one there and back well within one hour.
(Image credit: www.travelnerd.com)