Photo – Tim Rodenberg
It’s a universal truth held among New Yorkers that LaGuardia Airport is the armpit of the tri-state area, if not of the entire country. It lacks the ease of transportation that make JFK and Newark bearable, and once you arrive, it’s a total eyesore — both inside and out. The cramped terminals reek of Sbarro and body odor, and are more often that not packed beyond a legal, fire safety, capacity. Last year, the lackluster facilities came under national scrutiny when Vice President Joe Biden compared the airport to “some third world country.” Biden came fashionably late to the LaGuardia-shaming party, but we’re not complaining because he and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that the airport will be getting a $4 billion revamp. Scheduled to open in 2021, the new airport will unite the current four separate terminals under one roof, and make them easily accessible by public transportation. The improvements are also expected to make the airport easier to get to — good news for anyone who’s tried to figure out the Queens bus routes.
Hopefully, LaGuardia will become the better-than-average gateway to the world it’s destined to be, but it still can’t keep up with JFK, which is slowly becoming a luxury amusement park in the heart of Queens. Last week brought news that JFK is bringing Neopets to life with a luxury animal terminal. Set to open next year, the terminal, named ARK after, you guessed it — Noah’s Ark — will feature sleek quarantine facilities for every animal imaginable, including an aviary, a private penguin-mating space, a dog resort, and hay-lined stalls for horses and cattle. In non-animal related improvements, the JetBlue terminal recently opened its version of the High Line, a 4,000-foot outdoor terrace open to passengers and their pets. So just as LaGuardia becomes a first-world facility, JFK is one-step ahead.