Preservation Magazine, Spring 2017

Two Art Deco Airport Hangars Restored In New York

Floyd Bennett Field

photo by: Xavier De La Vega

After an extensive adaptive reuse project, Hangars 1 and 2 of Floyd Bennett Field are now a natural-gas metering and regulating station.

In each Transitions section of Preservation magazine, we highlight places of local and national importance that have recently been restored, are currently threatened, have been saved from demolition or neglect, or have been lost. Here's one from Spring 2017.

Built in 1931, Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field was New York’s first municipal airport, preceding Idlewild Airport (later John F. Kennedy International Airport) by 17 years. Aviators such as Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes successfully took off and landed there, and in the 1930s, New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia lobbied for the airfield to replace Newark Metropolitan as the city’s de facto airport. (The mayor and the city ultimately decided that the site of the present-day LaGuardia Airport in Queens would be more convenient.)

During World War II, Floyd Bennett Field became an essential U.S. Navy installation, used for transporting naval aircraft from assembly plants in the New York area to the West Coast so they could be deployed in the Pacific Theater. As of 1972, the airfield was incorporated into the larger Gateway National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service.

The Park Service recently issued a lease to energy conglomerate Williams Companies for the adaptive reuse of the field’s Art Deco Hangars 1 and 2 as a natural-gas metering and regulating station. Completed early in 2016, the rehabbed hangars won a New York State Preservation Award in December.

Katherine Flynn is a former assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores, and uncovering the stories behind historic places.

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