Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

New York City, Queens

© 2002, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 8/13/14.

This site covers airfields in all 50 states: Click here for the site's main menu.

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Flushing Airport (revised 6/11/14) - Fort Tilden Blimp Field (added 2/25/10) - Glen H. Curtiss Airport / North Beach Airport (revised 2/13/14)

Holmes Airport (revised 9/30/13) - Rockaway NAS (revised 3/15/14) - Rockaway Airport / Edgemere NOLF (revised 8/13/14)

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Glen H. Curtiss Airport / North Beach Airport, Jackson Heights, NY

40.76 North / 73.89 West (Southwest of La Guardia Airport)

Glenn Curtiss Airport, as depicted on the 1929 Washington-NYC Air Navigation Map #3.



This peninsula was originally occupied by the Gala Amusement Park, owned by the Steinway family.



According to Peter Maefield's 1972 Wings Club of NYC speech (courtesy of Dave Kanzeg),

Flying began on the shores of the East River's Bowery & of Flushing Bay in 1925 on land owned by New York Air Terminals.

In 1927 the land was bought by Glenn Curtiss as a base for distribution of Curtiss Robin light aircraft.

It was sold to the Curtiss-Wright Airports Corporation in 1929 as a private landing ground of 105 acres extent.

It was named the Glenn H. Curtiss Airport, North Beach.”



The field was located on the waterfront so that it could service both landplanes & seaplanes.

It had 3 gravel runways, the longest measuring 2,300', 3 hangars, and was illuminated.



The earliest aeronautical depiction of Glenn Curtiss Airport which has been located

was on the 1929 Washington-NYC Air Navigation Map #3.



A circa 1929 aerial photo looking northeast at Glen Curtiss Airport from a brochure from the Glen Curtiss Flying Service (courtesy of Tom Heitzman)

showed the airport to have 3 asphalt runways & 3 large hangars on the southwest side.



In 1929, Glenn Curtiss Airport boasted 120' wide hangars which were state of the art.

More than 70 planes were based at the field,

many owned by wealthy sportsmen from Manhattan, Westchester, and Queens.

It was only 15 minutes from Manhattan by boat or 30 minutes by subway or automobile.



A 1930 photo at Glenn Curtiss Airport of a Savoia Marcheitti S-56 amphibian operated by the NYPD.

The Police operated a squadron of 5 amphibians built by Keystone & Savoia Marchetti at Glenn Curtiss Airport for patrol & rescue.



A beautiful 3/31 aerial photo looking west (courtesy of Tom Heitzman) showed the proximity of Glen Curtiss Airport to Manhattan.



A circa 1931 aerial view of North Beach (Glen Curtis) Airport

showed the Enna Jettick blimp along w/ a dozen other aircraft (courtesy of Alan “AirshipAl” Gross).



A 1931 photo of an unidentified biplane & a Ford 4-AT Trimotor at Glenn Curtiss Airport.

Curtiss-Wright Flying Service operated 2 Ford Trimotors from Curtiss Airport from 1931-32,

with hourly departures to Floyd Bennett Field, Newark, Atlantic City, and Philadelphia.

Although many thousand passengers were carried safely, the service was unprofitable.



A 8/27/31 aerial view looking south at Glenn Curtiss Airport showing the arrival of the sole prototype of the 12-engined Dornier Do X flying boat,

the world's largest , heaviest, and most-powerful heavier-than-air aircraft.

The Do X & crew spent the next 9 months there as its engines were overhauled,

and thousands of sightseers made the trip to Glenn Curtiss Airport to tour the leviathan of the air.



A 1932 aerial view looking north depicted Glenn Curtiss Airport as having 3 runways,

3 hangars, and at least a dozen planes were visible, including the massive Dornier Do-X seen at the bottom.



A 1932 photo looking at the massive Dornier Do-X on mooring rails at North Beach Airport.



The massive Do X departed from Glenn Curtiss Airport on 5/21/32 on its return trip to Berlin.



A 1934 photo of an unidentified twin-engine floatplane at Glenn Curtiss Airport (courtesy of Mark Hess).



According to Peter Maefield's 1972 Wings Club of NYC speech (courtesy of Dave Kanzeg),

The name was changed to the North Beach Municipal Airport in 1935

when the site was bought by the City as a light aircraft field and as a base for the crating of aircraft flown in for export.”



A 1935 photo of a Beech Staggerwing on straight floats at Glenn Curtiss Airport (courtesy of Mark Hess).



The last aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Glenn Curtiss Airport was on the 1935 Regional Aeronautical Chart.



At some point after 1935 the field was renamed North Beach Airport.



A circa 1936 photo by Henry Seitz (courtesy of Charles Clackett)

showing 2 hangars of the North Beach Flying Service, a lunch shack, flying school, and 7 single-engine aircraft.



A circa 1936 photo by Henry Seitz (courtesy of Charles Clackett)

showing 5 aircraft next to the flying school building of the North Beach Flying Service, during evidently some kind of public exhibition.



A circa 1936 photo of Henry Seitz in front of an unidentified high-wing monoplane at North Beach Airport (courtesy of Charles Clackett).



A 1937 photo of a Lockheed Sirius in front of a North Beach Air Service hangar.



At the behest of New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, an effort began to develop a new commercial airport for New York City,

and the site of the existing North Beach Airport was chosen.

The city purchased the airport property in 1937.

In the same year the owners of nearby Holmes Airport sought a court injunction

to stop New York City from spending $8,444,300 to develop North Beach Airport,

but Supreme Court Justice Ernest Hammer denied the request.



The last photo which has been located showing North Beach Airport before its transformation was a 1937 aerial view looking southeast.

The field had been closed in preparation for its redevelopment, with no aircraft were visible on the field.

The airport was otherwise intact, including 3 hangars, one of which still had “Curtiss Wright” painted on its roof.



A massive construction effort started in 1937, transforming the site & erasing all traces of the former North Beach Airport.



The last depiction which has been located of North Beach Airport was on a 1939 street map (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

Curiously, it still labeled the site as North Beach Airport,

even though the configuration depicted was that of the massively-expanded, newly-constructed facility which would eventually be known as La Guardia Airport.



The new airport was dedicated on 10/15/39, initially with the name New York Municipal Airport (later to be renamed La Guardia Airport),

ending the history of the much smaller North Beach Airport which had originally occupied the property.



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Holmes Airport, Jackson Heights, NY

40.76 North / 73.89 West (Southwest of La Guardia Airport)

A postmark commemorated the 3/16/29 Flag Raising of Holmes Airport.



A 1924 aerial photo did not yet show any sign of an airport at this location.



Real estate developer E. H. Holmes built this small airport on 220 acres

of undeveloped land in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens.

He organized & sold stock in Holmes Airport, Inc.

E.H. Holmes felt that he had opposition.

He complained, "There are a lot of people who would like to see me fail.

Some of them have done everything they can to hinder me, except drop a bomb in my apartment.”



In February, 1929, Clarence Chamberlin, aviatrix Viola Gentry, and Dorothy Stone broke ground for the new airport.

It had 2 hangars, an office, and 2 gravel runways, measuring 3,000' & 2,800'.



Holmes Airport opened on March 16, 1929, attracting 100,000 on its 2nd day of operation.



Later in 1929, the first scheduled flights from New York City began operations from Holmes Airport

when Eastern Air Express started a 2-day run to Miami using a Ford Trimotor.



Holmes Airport was not yet depicted on the 1929 New York – Bellefonte Air Navigation Map #19 (courtesy of David Brooks).



The earliest depiction which has been located of Holmes Airport

was a 1929 photo of a Ford Tri-Motor in front of a the “N.E.W. Flying Service” hangars.



A 1929 ad (courtesy of Mark Hess) promoted the “Airport supremacy for New York City”, graphically portraying Holmes Airport's proximity to Manhattan.



A 1929 ad (courtesy of Mark Hess) for Gates Flying School at Holmes Airport.



An undated (circa early 1930s?) colorized photo of 4 planes of the Gates Flying Service in front of their hangars at Holmes Airport.

The photo's caption was “Grand Central Air Terminal, Holmes Airport”.



In April 1930, thousands of people took plane rides for the price of $1.

It was promoted as an experiment to see if it was the expense or fear that kept the public from flying.



The Holmes Airport Trimotor airline service was short-lived due to the expense & lack of interest,

and by 1931 the Trimotor was used solely for sightseeing rides over the city.



Goodyear erected a 220' blimp hangar at Holmes Airport in 1931 & conducted sightseeing flights.



Holmes Airport was not depicted on the 1932 Washington-NYC Air Navigation Map #3 (courtesy of David Brooks).



An undated brochure with a 5/18/32 photo of the Goodyear blimp Resolute

over the Holmes Airport blimp hangar (courtesy of Alan “AirshipAl” Gross), following her christening.



A map from an undated (circa 1930s) brochure highlighting the proximity of Holmes Airport to Manhattan (courtesy of Alan “AirshipAl” Gross).



On 11/11/34, sixty-four planes took part in a 30-mile novelty race

involving a treasure hunt & pie-eating contest, the winner returning in 28 minutes.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction of Holmes Airport which has been located

was on the 1934 Sectional Aeronautical Chart.



The last aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Holmes Airport

was on the 1935 Regional Aeronautical Chart.



In 1936, a Goodyear blimp based at Holmes Airport provided the world's first aerial traffic reports.



In 1937, Holmes Airport's owners sought a court injunction to stop New York City from spending $8,444,300

to develop North Beach Airport (what would become LaGuardia Airport) only a mile or so to the northeast.

Supreme Court Justice Ernest Hammer denied the request.



A 1938 photo of 2 Piper Cubs in front of a hangar marked Holmes Flying Service at Holmes Airport.



The last map depiction which has been located of Holmes Airport was on a 1939 street map (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

Notably the map shows the proximity to the much-larger North Beach Airport (today's LaGuardia Airport), which was opened in 1939.



The last photo which has been located of Holmes Airport was on a 1939 aerial view looking northeast, showing the hangars of Holmes Airport & 2 aircraft at the lower-right,

and the runways & hangars of the newly-built New York Municipal Airport in the background.



Holmes Airport operated alongside the much larger North Beach Airport / New York Municipal Airport for 6 months before closing in 1940.



Veterans' housing was built on a portion of the Holmes Airport site,

and a Bulova watch factory was later built on the the northern portion of Holmes Airport's land.



By the time of the 1947 USGS topo map, Holmes Airport was no longer depicted,

and it was heavily built over in a 1951 aerial photo.



As seen in a June 5, 2006 aerial view, not a trace remains of the former Holmes Airport.



The site of Holmes Airport is located southeast of the intersection of Astoria Boulevard & East Brooklyn Queens Expressway.



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Flushing Airport (FLU), Queens, NY

40.78 North / 73.83 West (East of La Guardia Airport)

Flushing Airport, as depicted on the 1929 Washington-NYC Air Navigation Map #3.



Flushing Airport was one of New York City's early municipal airports.

It is located only a mile east of present-day La Guardia Airport.



Flushing Airport was opened in 1927 as Speed's Airport (named for owner Anthony "Speed" Hanzlick).

It became the busiest airport in New York City for a time.



The earliest aeronautical depiction of Flushing Airport which has been located

was on the 1929 Washington-NYC Air Navigation Map #3.



As of 1929, the "Pioneer Aero Trades School, Inc." was evidently operating at Flushing Airport,

as commemorated by a postage "first cover" (courtesy of Ed Drury).



The earliest depiction of Flushing Airport which has been located was a 1930 photo (courtesy of Mark Hess),

showing a few hangars along the edge of a grass airfield.



Flushing Airport became the busiest airport in New York City for a time.

But when North Beach Airport (soon to be renamed LaGuardia Field) opened (at some point between 1935-37),

it quickly took business away from the older & smaller Flushing Airport.



A circa 1930s aerial view looking north at Flushing Airport, with hangars & several monoplanes & biplanes visible.

Photo courtesy of The Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City, Long Island via Leo Polaski

"These photographs do not belong to me, they belong to the respective Museums.

ALL permission to use these photographs in publications MUST be obtained from the Museums,

I ONLY have permission to post here as long as no profit is obtained by me."



The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airports Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo)

described Flushing-New York Airport as having a total of 4 clay runways,

with the longest being a 3,000' northeast/southwest strip.

The hangar was described as having "New York City Airport" painted on the roof.



According to the CAP Major Peter Turecek,

Flushing Airport was used by the Civil Air Patrol during the early days of WW2 to operate target towing & tracking missions.

Two CAP pilots were killed in 1943 during tow target & tracking exercises from Flushing:

Captain Gordon Pyle & 2nd Lt Roy Paite.



A circa 1942-45 aerial view looking north at Flushing Airport from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock)

depicted the field as an open grass area.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described Flushing Airport

as a 300 acre irregularly-shaped property within which was a bare all-way landing area,

with the longest dimension being 3,150' north/south.

The field was said to have three 80' x 60' metal hangars,

and to be privately owned & operated.



A circa 1940s photo looking west at several biplanes & a T-6 in front of the Speed's Flying Service hangar at Flushing Airport.

Photo courtesy of The Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City, Long Island via Leo Polaski

"These photographs do not belong to me, they belong to the respective Museums.

ALL permission to use these photographs in publications MUST be obtained from the Museums,

I ONLY have permission to post here as long as no profit is obtained by me."



A 1946 aerial view looking north at Flushing Airport, with the hangars along the left side (courtesy of Dan MacPherson).

 

Anthony Hanzlick, the manager of Speed's Flying Service at Flushing Airport, works on an aircraft in 1946

(courtesy of Dan MacPherson).

 

An article in the 1/46 issue of Flying Magazine (courtesy of Dan MacPherson)

said that the operators at Flushing Airport were Speed's Flying Service & Edwards Flying Service.

It said that "Despite rough conditions of field, 18 planes are based there."



A snowy 1947 aerial view looking north at the row of hangars & buildings at Flushing Airport (courtesy of Mark Hess),

with only a few aircraft visible in the background.



A late 1940s aerial view looking north at Flushing Airport, with the hangars along the left side, and a large number of aircraft.

Photo courtesy of The Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City, Long Island via Leo Polaski

"These photographs do not belong to me, they belong to the respective Museums.

ALL permission to use these photographs in publications MUST be obtained from the Museums,

I ONLY have permission to post here as long as no profit is obtained by me."



The 1947 USGS topo map depicted 2 remarkable details of Flushing Airport:

it is the only depiction to be located which showed a road bisecting the field from west to east (not seen in any other depictions of Flushing Airport, earlier or later),

and it also depicted the majority of the property as marsh, which was quite realistic.



Jerry Borshard recalled, “Flushing Airport... As a boy I spent many hours at the airport,

mostly in a wood-framed building which housed the office & waiting room of Edwards Flying Service.

My father, Jerry Borshard (Sr), was a part-time instructor at Edwards Flying Service during the late 1940s until 1952.

One of the aircraft based at Flushing was a 'Bamboo Bomber' twin Cessna, painted dark silver or gray with an eagle (possibly silver, gold, or white) painted on its nose.

Dad once arranged to lease that plane & fly me, Mom, and my younger sister to visit friends (or possible future business associates) in New Hampshire for an afternoon.”



Jerry continued, “The remarkable thing I remember about Speed's hangar is that he stored multiple (at least 10, it seemed) yellow Piper Cubs inside

by stacking them tails-up in a row against one another, noses all on the floor.

I always enjoyed seeing the Skywriters as we rounded the curve at the end of the airport.

Dad, who had been a flight instructor during the war & knew those SNJs intimately,

was baffled how revenue from writing ads in the sky could profitably sustain fueling those those gas-guzzling greenhouse-canopied planes.

Yes, those (and others, like the Mustang) could be had very cheap after the war, but few could afford the cost of actually flying them, let alone maintaining them.”



Jerry continued, “Dad was utterly passionate about flying - once absorbed, little else caught his attention.

On one occasion he was out instructing & evidently forgot to provide me with a quarter to get a hot dog & a soda from the luncheonette

(hot dogs then were 15 cents, hamburgers 25 cents, sodas 10 cents).

Mr. Edwards noticed the hungry look on my face, asked if I had had any lunch, muttered something about Dad's preoccupation,

then gave me half of the sandwich his wife had made him - chicken on white bread spread with chunks of butter, and a thermos-top cup of lemonade.

I was grateful for his kindness in sharing what Mrs. Edwards had prepared.”



A 1951 aerial view depicted Flushing Airport as having an unpaved landing area,

with several hangars & several light aircraft along the west side of the field.



Andrea Edwards Anthony reported, "My father, George William Edwards,

was the owner & manager [of Edwards Flying Service].

He & Speed Hanszlick competed for many years;

in fact it was felt Speed was an unfair competitor for a number of reasons.

After many years my father & mother purchased Davis Field in Bayport, NY."



A 1954 aerial view depicted Flushing Airport as having an unpaved landing area,

with several hangars & dozens of light aircraft along the west side of the field.



A July 1956 photo by John Givre of an unidentified biplane at Flushing Airport's engine run-up area.



A September 1956 photo by John Givre of a Bell 47 helicopter at Flushing Airport. The pontoon is marked “Police NYC”.



A September 1956 photo by John Givre looking east at an Aeronca 11AC Chief at Flushing Airport,

with the Linden Hill apartment complex stretching for several blocks in the background.



A September 1956 photo by John Givre of a Stinson 108 at Flushing Airport.

John recalled, “All my own photos were shot with a little plastic Kodak box camera using 640 film.

In 1956 this Stinson 108 was flown by an old New York radio station, WOR-AM.

It was parked right next to the airport's luncheonette.

I've written to WOR about the plane in this photo, but no one can tell me who flew it or for what purpose.

My guess is that it was used as transportation & for aerial photography -

flying traffic reports did not yet exist in 1956.”



A June 1958 photo by John Givre of “a handsome Cessna T-50” Bobcat at Flushing Airport.

John observed, “Not bad for a 10-year-old with a box camera!

You can see the Whitestone Bridge in the left background.”



Flushing Airport had apparently gained a paved runway at some point between 1954-62,

as the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory described Flushing as having a single 2,950' paved runway,

and listed the operators as Speed's Flying Service & Stinis Air Service.



A 1964 photo (courtesy of Alan “AirshipAl” Gross) of 2 Goodyear blimps at Flushing Airport.

Goodyear blimps used the Flushing Airport regularly from the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s.



Flushing was described on the 1965 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss)

as having 2 runways, with the longest being a 3,300' asphalt strip.

However, the remarks included, "NE/SW runway closed."



A 1976 photo by Jay Beck (courtesy of Alan “AirshipAl” Gross) of the Goodyear Blimp visiting Flushing Airport when it was still open.



A 1970s view looking northwest at the planes on the Flushing Airport ramp (courtesy of Joe Walcez, via Andrew Baffi).



Andrew Baffi recalled, “I am an airline pilot today

but it all started for me when my parents used to take me to Flushing Airport to watch the airplanes in the 1970s.

We also used to go to the decrepit Adventurer’s Inn across the street.

It was a great place for sure. I can still conjure up the smell of the gravel in my memory.

It was a great place for me & holds many, many special memories.”



An undated photo of Joe West in front of a Piper.

A 4/16/73 Tribune article (courtesy of Andrew Baffi) described how Flushing Airport operator Anthony “Speed” Hanzlik

was selling his operation to Joe West.



A 1970s view of a Cessna 310 & a North American SNJ Texan on the Flushing Airport ramp (courtesy of Joe Walcez, via Andrew Baffi).



A 1976 photo of a Cessna departing from Flushing Airport (courtesy of Joe Walcez, via Andrew Baffi).

Note the poor condition of the runway pavement,

not to mention the multi-story buildings directly in the departure path.



Flushing Airport was still depicted as an active airfield on the 1979 NY TCA chart (courtesy of Bill Suffa).

It was depicted as having a single 2,600' paved north/south runway.



A 1980 aerial view by Alan “AirshipAl” Gross looking south from final approach to Flushing's Runway 18,

showing numerous planes parked along the west side of the field.



A 1980 aerial photo depicted an amazing number of aircraft at Flushing Airport,

notably including the 5 SNJs of the Skytypers at the very top.

The large number of aircraft on the field showed that Flushing Airport served a valuable role right up to the very end.



A 1980 FAA diagram of special air traffic rules for Flushing Airport,

due to its proximity to La Guardia Airport (courtesy of Gary Agranat).



The last photo which has been located showing aircraft at Flushing Airport was a May 1981 photo by Steve Rocketto

of a very rare military surplus Lockheed YO-3A covert surveillance aircraft, sitting partially disassembled, lacking a propeller & rudder.

Steve recalled, “I have no idea why the YO-3 was there. My guess is someone purchased it to rebuild.

One of the Skytyper SNJ-2 aircraft is also visible”, behind the YO-3A.



By the time of the 1982 AOPA Airport Directory (courtesy of Ed Drury),

Runway 18/36 had been shortened to 2,630', and the operator was listed as Sunrise Aviation.



Andrew Baffi recalled, “I worked there in 1982… it was limited use & I worked for a helicopter company called Spectrum Helicopters.

There were only about 3 airplanes there in 1982: Cessna 172, a Mooney and I can’t remember the 3rd one.

I remember Bianca Jagger being flown from Flushing to Montauk.

She got out of a limo & went straight to a single-engine Cessna… I guess the alimony from Mick didn’t come to much.”



As the neighborhood around Flushing Airport was gradually built up,

neighborhood pressure continued to grow to close the airport, and it eventually was closed in 1984.



Rich Peabody recalled, "I was frequently at the site of Flushing Airport after its closure.

There were several aircraft there for 2 or 3 years, being slowly vandalized.

The flooding mentioned seemed to be tidal,

as the runway appeared to dip in the center, probably to below sea level?"



Even though Flushing Airport had evidently been closed already for 3 years, it was still depicted as an active airfield on the 1987 NY Terminal Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Gwen Shafer).

It was depicted as having a single 2,800' paved north/south runway.



The 1995 USGS topo map still depicted Flushing Airport as having 2 unpaved runways, and 2 small buildings along the west side.



A 1997 view looking north along the abandoned runway at Flushing Airport, by Jonathan Westerling.

 

A circa 2000 aerial view, showing the remaining (southern) half

of the Flushing Airport runway which is not yet covered by standing water.

 

The 2 remaining hangars at Flushing Airport, 2001.

 

Exterior of the Speed's Flying Service hangar, 2001.

 

Exterior of the other remaining hangar at Flushing Airport, 2001.

 

Strangely, although Flushing Airport has been closed for years

(and has been depicted as an abandoned airfield on flying charts),

it was still listed in 2001 in the FAA Airport/Facility Directory,

although with the note "Airport closed indefinitely; redevelopment in progress."

Yet runway 18/36 is still listed as an active runway, at 2,800 ft long, "asphalt, in good condition".

Its present owner is listed as "Economic Development Corp, NY, NY".



There was apparently a plan to reopen Flushing Airport as a general aviation airport,

but apparently that plan has not come to fruition.

It would seem that present-day flying operations at the site would be extremely difficult,

due to the presence of intense flying traffic overhead,

headed to La Guardia only 1 mile away.



The airport manager has recently said that the airport will probably never reopen.

He said that it was built on top of a swamp about 75 years ago & it has slowly subsided back into it.

He said that it is currently wetlands & it might be possible to turn it into an industrial complex.



Charles Gallo reported, “The reason the airport was listed as 'temporarily closed'

was that the folks in the Mitchell Gardens Apartment complex realized that if Flushing Airport was fully taken off the books,

it’s airspace would revert back to LGA airport airspace,

and instead of the SNJs of the Skytypers flying over their buildings (the main complaint which really got Flushing airport closed)

they would have had 727s flying over their buildings.

As is typical, the real problem is someone built right near the airport (in this case, the end of Runway 18)

and then complained when they had to deal with airplanes.

Now I know the sound of a big radial engine is probably music to your ears (it is to mine),

but the folks in those buildings didn’t love the fact that on every nice spring through fall day,

having 5 SNJs taking off at full power (to clear the 6-story buildings).”



A group has proposed reopening Flushing Airport as a blimp port.

 

An observer who recently flew over Flushing Airport reports:

"The runway is under water & the asphalt looks broken up.

It truly is a shame because the airport could have been a great

general aviation airport 2 miles from LGA & 5 from Manhattan.

It's a sad ending to what could have been a great general aviation airport."

 

Ed Drury reported in 2003 that "I'm told the Economic Development Department of the city owns Flushing Airport.

I also believe the NY State DEC controls the 'wetlands' portion.

As 'wetlands' it requires years to get a permit to do anything with it.

It may just stay that way.

You are not even allowed to clean up a wetland, without a state permit, even if you own it.

Big brother stuff. I landed there once or twice many years ago, but I barely remember it."

 

A 2003 photo by Andrew Nobody of the rear of one of Flushing Airport's remaining hangars.

 

Andrew Nobody visited Flushing Airport in December 2003,

and noted that a new gravel road had been recently laid,

running from Linden Place to the abandoned hangars.

Unfortunately, this road was constructed so as to bring in demolition equipment,

which was reportedly scheduled to demolish the remaining structures in early 2004,

so that the site of the former airport could be occupied by a new production plant

(possibly related to the huge new NY Times printing plant which had recently been constructed adjacent to the airport).

 

A 2003 aerial photo by Andy Hoffer, looking west at Flushing Airport's 3 hangars which remained standing.



What a sad photo – a circa 2005 aerial view looking north at the northern 2 hangars which remained standing.

Note the 2 trucks, submerged in the water northeast of the hangars.



A May 21, 2006 photo looking north from Linden Place at the 2 remaining hangars at Flushing Airport.



A July 5, 2007 aerial view looking north at the site of Flushing Airport, showing the flooded runway, and the 3 remaining hangars.



A 2007 diagram by John Givre of Flushing Airport.

According to John, “This is what I recall from my childhood visits:

1. The airport office was Speed Hanzlick's lair.

Only mechanics & fliers ever ventured into the office - visitors were not usually allowed past the parking lot / restaurant area.

2. The south hangar is no longer standing. It may have been torn down when the airport closed.

It was the same type of structure as the 2 remaining hangars.

3. This maintenance shed had 2 bays, and can be seen on the right in photo (9).

4. The parking lot was immediately off of Linden Place, a small 2-lane asphalt road parallel to the runway.

The lot was gravel, with several creosoted logs laid end to end for visitors to front into.

Only eight or ten cars could actually park there.

The lot & restaurant were surrounded by a cyclone fence.

Most of my photos were taken from this parking lot area, or from just in front of it.

5. A small wood frame luncheonette with counter service.

In 1956 (and even before that according to my Mom) the lunch special, as advertised on a painted sign outside,

was always spaghetti & meatballs for 25 cents.

6. Large hangar, one of 2 still standing on the site.

7. Another wood frame structure, maybe a 2nd office?

8. North hangar, still on the site.”





A beautiful 2008 photo looking out from the interior of a flooded Flushing Airport hangar.



A 4/1/08 aerial view still showed the hangars remaining standing.



Reportedly in 2008, all 3 former hangars at the site of Flushing Airport have been removed,

pending redevelopment of the site.



Indeed a 5/4/09 aerial view showed that all of the hangars had been removed, with the ground scraped clean,

erasing the last prominent trace of this historic urban airport.



A circa 2008-2010 aerial view of the site of Flushing Airport, showing the former location of the hangars.



See also:

http://www.queenstribune.com/archives/featurearchive/feature2000/0831/feature_story.html

http://www.forgotten-ny.com/STREET%20SCENES/FLUSHING%20AIRPORT/flush.html

________________________________________________

 

Rockaway Naval Air Station (WW1-era location), Rockaway, NY

40.57 North / 73.87 West (Southwest of Kennedy Airport)

A 1918 photo of the Rockaway seaplane hangar.



This airfield is located on a narrow peninsula in between the Atlantic Ocean & Jamaica Bay,

a mile southeast of Floyd Bennett NAS,

Fort Tilden is located immediately adjacent to the west.

 

Rockaway was one of the Navy's original Naval Air Stations.

Operational from 1917-30, it was staffed with as few as a handful of men

to as many as a maximum of 1,285 men.

Over 80 buildings & several large hangars were constructed.

Fort Tilden's battery of four 12 inch mortars were also located inside the boundaries of the 96 acre NAS Rockaway.

Rockaway was used as a base for floatplanes, dirigibles, free balloon, and kite balloons.

It was also used as an advanced training facility for Navy aviators.

 

The base had its origin in 1917, when the City of New York granted the Navy a permit to occupy the property.

A contract covering the establishment of patrol stations on Long Island

located at Montauk, Rockaway and Bay Shore was let in the same year.



A 1918 photo of a seaplane taxiing in Jamaica Bay from Rockaway, with Barren Island in the background.



In 1918 a collision of 2 HS-2L Flying Boats (A-1273 & A-1175) resulted in the deaths of 3 persons at Rockaway.

The HS-2L was a biplane flying boat with a single pusher propeller Liberty 330 horsepower engine.

 

At the end of WW1, there were 24 seaplanes & 2 dirigibles stationed at Rockaway NAS,

as well as 1,200 Enlisted men & 105 Officers.

 

In 1918 the NC-1 took off from Rockaway with 51 persons aboard,

establishing a new world record for persons carried in flight.



 

A circa 1919 US Navy aerial view looking east at Rockaway NAS,

showing the seaplane hangars & the dirigible hangar.



A 1919 photo of Curtiss flying boats NC-3 & NC-4 in front of a Rockaway hangar.



In 1919, three Curtiss flying boats departed Rockaway to begin the 1st trans-Atlantic oceanic crossing.

After it's historic flight, the NC-4 was put on display in the summer of 1919.



A 1919 photo of an airship being hauled out for a flight at Rockaway.



The complement of the station was reduced to 259 men in 1921.

In the same year, a hydrogen fire at Rockaway destroyed 3 airships.



A 1921 photo of the sole example of the unusual Curtiss Model 24 CT torpedo plane being tested at Rockaway NAS.



In 1921 the transfer of the Rockaway property back to the City of NY to construct Jacob Riis Park is discussed.

By the end of 1921, most air operations ceased at NAS Rockaway.



In 1922 the dirigible hangar (measuring 114' x 250' x 65') burned to the ground.



A 1924 aerial view of Rockaway (from the NYCityMap, courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

showed the seaplane hangars on the west end, and the site of the former dirigible hangar on the east end.



By 1927, the condition of the buildings at Rockaway were described as "very bad" in records from Fort Tilden.



An article entitled “Rockaway Squadrons Commended by Board”

appeared in the 9/15/28 issue of Aviation Magazine (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It described how “Squadrons VN-3RD3 was awarded 1st place

and VN-4RD3 was awarded 2nd place in the final standing of 24 aviation divisions throughout the country.”

It also said that “Plans are under way to make a two-way landing field large enough to accommodate any type of plane.”



The "Naval Reserve" seaplane base,

as depicted on the 1930 "Rand McNally Standard Map of NJ With Air Trails" (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



In 1930 the NAS property was transferred to the City of New York,

and 42 of 51 structures remaining at Rockaway NAS were demolished.



A 1931 photo of a Vought O2U Corsair on floats at Rockaway.



Rockaway apparently continued to see some aviation use,

as the 1934 Sectional Chart depicted a seaplane base at this location,

and the 1935 Regional Aeronautical Chart depicted it as a "Coast Guard" seaplane base.



The 1942 Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted the "Coast Guard" seaplane base at this location.



The aviation use of the seaplane base apparently came at an end at some point between 1942-45,

as no seaplane base was depicted at this location on the 1945 NY Sectional Chart or subsequent charts.



The 1947 USGS topo map depicted Jacob Riis Park on the site of Rockaway NAS.



As seen in a 1951 aerial photo, Jacob Riis Park was built over the site of Rockaway NAS,

leaving no trace of airbase remaining.



The National Park Service has placed an interpretive display on the mall area of Jacob Riis Park

and a plaque commemorating the 1st trans-Atlantic flight made by NAS Rockaway's NC Flying Boats in 1919.

 

A circa 2000 aerial photo of the site of Rockaway NAS, now the Jacob Riis Park.



A 2005 aerial photo by Paul Freeman, taken from a Diamond Eclipse at 8,000 feet, looking southwest at the site of Rockaway NAS.



See also: http://www.geocities.com/fort_tilden/rnas.html

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Fort Tilden Blimp Field, Rockaway, NY

40.56 North / 73.88 West (Southwest of Kennedy Airport)

The Fort Tilden blimp hangar & field, as depicted on a 1924 aerial view (from the NYCityMap, courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



Fort Tilden was the home of a blimp hangar which was designed to house Type C airships.

The hangar was located on the North side of the post, along Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

A Gas Generator House & an incinerator were also located near the hangar.



The Class C Airship were non-rigid airships.

They measured 192' in length, with a 42' diameter, and having a gas volume of 181,000 cubic feet.

They were powered by two 125 HP Hispano-Suize engines, had a crew of 4, and a maximum speed of 10 MPH.

A total of 10 Class C airships were built by Goodyear-Goodrich,

intended to be used for coastal patrol in the Atlantic waters near the entrance to New York's harbor during World War I.



On 12/12/17, in a test to determine the feasibility of carrying fighter aircraft on dirigibles,

the airship C-1 lifted an Army JN-4 aircraft in a wide spiral climb to 2,500' over Fort Tilden

and at that height released it for a free-flight back to base.

The airship was piloted by Lieutenant George Crompton, (Naval Aviator #100), Dirigible Officer at NAS Rockaway,

and the plane by Lieutenant A.W. Redfield, USA, commanding the 52nd Aero Squadron based at Mineola (Long Island).

This was the first test of a "parasitic aircraft" and although it was a successful test, the idea was not considered to be practical.



It has not been determined if the Fort Tilden hangar was actually used for the storage of blimps,

as the adjacent NAS Rockaway had a larger hangar & landing field.



The earliest depiction which has been located of the Fort Tilden blimp field was a 1924 aerial view (from the NYCityMap, courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It appeared to show a large open flying field with the hangar & a smaller building along the north side.



An undated photo of the Fort Tilden blimp hangar, showing the massive door support structure.



An undated photo of showing the control tower on top of the Fort Tilden blimp hangar.



A 1938 aerial photo depicted the hangar with the name "FORT TILDEN" painted on the roof,

and railroad tracks were visible entering the building.



The Fort Tilden hangar was used as a storage building for locomotives until it was torn down sometime after WW2.



An undated photo showing the wreckage of the Fort Tilden blimp hangar in the course of its demolition.



An undated photo showing the upturned building which sat adjacent to the Fort Tilden blimp hangar, in the course of its demolition.



The Fort Tilden property had another significant phase with an aviation role,

as in 1954 the Army situated the Nike-Ajax surface-to-air missile battery NY-49 on the property,

one of several batteries which ringed New York City during the early days of the Cold War.

NY-49 featured a 4-magazine configuration, as a double Nike battery,

with a total of 40 Nike-Ajax missiles.



In 1959 the Fort Tilden battery became the 2nd in the nation to be upgraded to deploy to the 2nd-generation Nike Hercules missile,

with a total of 24 Nike-Hercules missiles.



A 1959 aerial view looking southeast at several Nike Hercules missiles raised on their launchers at Fort Tilden.



A 1959 photo of 2 Nike Hercules missiles at Fort Tilden,

showing their massive quadruple solid rocket boosters.



An 11/23/63 photo of a Nike Hercules missile raised to alert status at Fort Tilden,

the day after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.



A 1967 photo of a Nike Hercules missile raised on its launcher at Fort Tilden.



The Fort Tilden Nike battery was deactivated in 1974, as part of the scaling-back of Cold War air defenses.



As of 2000, a 150' x 60' concrete hangar foundation & the steel rails which once guided the rollers of the large hangar doors

were still clearly visible on the north side of Fort Tilden near Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

The area was used to store wood chips from cut-down trees until they were used on the trails in the park.



A circa 2007 aerial view looking south at the concrete foundation of the Fort Tilden blimp hangar.



A circa 2007 aerial view looking north at the concrete foundation of the Fort Tilden Nike missile launchers.



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Rockaway Airport / Edgemere NOLF, Edgemere, NY

40.6 North / 73.78 West (South of Kennedy Airport)

A circa 1939-42 aerial view looking north at the Rockaway Airport (courtesy of Jack Gordon).

 

According to the August 1938 issue of the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways' Rockaway Review (courtesy of Michael Azzollini),

an airport for the Rockaways was first proposed by the Chamber of Commerce

in a letter sent to the Secretary of War & the Secretary of the Navy.

It was pointed out that the Rockaways presented one of the best locations for the defense of New York City.

The property which was proposed was 240 acres located between Beach 47th Street & Beach 58th Street,

and it represented the only remaining open parcel of land in the Rockaways.

The property was previously known as the Verdam Estates,

and was owned mostly by the NY City Waterfront Company.

 

According to the June 1941 issue of the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways' Rockaway Review (courtesy of Michael Azzollini),

the Rockaway Airport was founded in May 1940 by Harry Gordon,

on 80 acres at the intersection of Beach Channel Drive & Beach 52nd Street.

Harry Gordon purchased a former oil burner assembly building from a Rockaway Beach firm & relocated it to the airport,

becoming the airport's hangar.

 

The airport initially had 2 planes,

but within less than a year had grown to a complement of 7 aircraft.

 

Gordon was described as conducting flight training at the Rockaway Airport

through which he hoped to contribute to the national defense.

 

Jack Gordon recalled, "My father, Harry Gordon, was the originator & operator of the Rockaway Airport.

I was then 17 or 18 years old, and the chief instructor for 'Gordon Air Services'.

 

A circa 1939-42 photo (courtesy of Jack Gordon), entitled "Teacher wins commercial flying license at Rockaway Airport",

depicted Katherine Lynch & her instructor, Jack Gordon.

The caption described Gordon as "one of the youngest qualified flight instructors in the country."

 

A circa 1939-42 brochure for Rockaway Airport (courtesy of Jack Gordon).

"The lady on the cover of the brochure, Kay Lynch,

was a student of mine, and ultimately became a flight instructor as well."

 

A circa 1939-42 brochure for Rockaway Airport (courtesy of Jack Gordon).

 

A 1941 photo of Ann Gordon in front of a Luscombe Silvaire at Rockaway Airport (courtesy of Jack Gordon).

 

Rockaway Airport, as depicted on a 1941 street map.

 

The September/October 1941 issue of the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways' Rockaway Review (courtesy of Michael Azzollini)

reported that the Rockaway Airport consisted of over 200 acres,

so it may have been expanded at some point since its founding.

Both Army & Navy officials had inspected the airport,

and the Navy had proven successful in landing a seaplane in the adjacent Jamaica Bay & taxiing to the airfield.

The hangar had recently been expanded,

and the airport's complement of aircraft was up to a total of 8.



Bob Livingston recalled, “Rockaway Airport... in 1941 I learned to fly there.

Jack Gordon was my instructor. Kay also instructed me.

I soloed in an Aeronca Papoose with a 60 HP radial engine.

We used the original runway of Idlewild (now JFK) to practice lining up for stalls & spins.”



The 1942 Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) depicted "Rockaway" as a commercial airport.

 

Jack Gordon & three passengers were injured in a forced landing of a Waco biplane in early 1942

when it suffered a loss of power after departure from Rockaway Airport,

as described in an article in the Rockaway Journal (courtesy of Jack Gordon).

The plane was brought down in a marsh a block away from the airport.

 

An article in the 8/4/42 issue of the Rockaway Journal (courtesy of Jack Gordon)

described how the Army had issued orders closing all privately operated airfields

within a radius of 200 miles of the coastline "for the duration" of the war.

This resulted in the closure (as a civilian airport) of Rockaway Airport on August 3, 1942.

 

Jack Gordon recalled, "We then flew all of our aircraft to Livingston Manor Airport, in the Catskill Mountains."

Harry Gordon had originally established the airfield at Livingston Manor in 1938.

 

This was not the end of the Rockaway airfield, though,

as it was taken over by the military for the remainder of the Second World War.

 

The 1943 NY Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy)

depicted "Rockaway" as an auxiliary airfield, but there was no indication of any military use of the field.

 

A 1944 Directory of Airfields (according to John Voss) listed an "OLF Edgemere" as being located at this location (40-36-00/73-47-15).

It described the airfield as having a 3,200' runway.

It was apparently used during WW2 as a satellite airfield by aircraft operating from nearby Floyd Bennett NAS.

 

The 1945 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Robert Brown) labeled this field as "Rockaway (Navy)".

That is somewhat confusing, as the WW1-era Rockaway NAS was located several miles to the west,

due south of Floyd Bennett NAS.

 

After the end of WW2, Rockaway returned to use as a civilian airport.

Jack Gordon recalled, "It was not reopened again until 1945 or 1946

when it was taken over by a fiend named Joe Alta."



Richard Herbst recalled, “I lived about 3 blocks from the airport

and with a father & uncle just returned from wartime flying duty,

spent much of my time trying to persuade Joe Alta that my father would appear 'at any minute' to rent one of his Cubs.

The love affair with the little airplanes lasted although I only got to fly once.

The field... was rolled cinder recovered from the LiLco plant in Far Rockaway.

But from my vantage point, always on the ground, I could not picture the airport layout

other than the usual pattern was to take off south towards the Boardwalk,

turn east a block from the beach & continue on final over Beach 59th Street.”



Leo Diamond recalled about Rockaway, "I learned to fly the Piper J3 there in about 1946-48.

It was then adjacent to a landfill that made landings/takeoffs an adventure...

pigeons by the hundreds [over] the landfill."

 

An article entitled "Helicopter Experiment Judged a Success" was carried in the

February 1947 issue of the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways' Rockaway Review (courtesy of Michael Azzollini)

It described how a helicopter had landed at the Rockaway Airport on January 6, 1947 with a delivery of air mail.

 

The April 1947 issue of the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways' Rockaway Review (courtesy of Michael Azzollini)

described how Second World War veterans had returned to become instructors at the Rockaway Airport,

to pass on their love of flying.



Rockaway Airport, as depicted on the 1947 USGS topo map.

 

"Rockaway" was depicted as a civil airport on the 1950 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe).



A 1951 aerial photo depicted Rockaway Airport as having several unpaved runways,

with a hangar & several light aircraft on the south end.



Richard Herbst recalled, “There were, in the early 1950s at least 20 aircraft tied down & more hangared.”



Elliot Spiro recalled, “As a kid growing up in Far Rockaway I was often drawn to the airport.

My dad even got me to take my 1st airplane rides there.

In the early 1950s a school, MS198 Benjamin Cardozo Middle School,

was built on Far Rockaway Boulevard & 56th street.

I remember thinking as this building was going up that the airport would not last very long

as a lot of the air traffic passed over the school.

I think that this may have caused the demise of Rockaway Airport.”



A circa 1953 photo of a hangar & office building at Rockaway Airport.



The 1954 USGS topo map depicted Rockaway Airport as having 2 unpaved runways & 2 small buildings on the south side.



The last photo which has been located showing the Rockaway Airport while open was a 1954 aerial view.

It depicted the field as having a hangar at the south end, with a dozen light aircraft parked around it,

and several unpaved runways on the northern end.



"Rockaway" was still depicted as an active airport on the 1957 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe).

It was described as having 4 runways, with the longest being a 2,705' cinder strip.



Rockaway Airport was no longer depicted on the 1957 USGS topo map,

so it may have been closed by that point.



Richard Herbst recalled that 2 years after the construction of Benjamin Cardozo Junior High,

Peninsula General Hospital went up adjacent to the already condemned land the airport was on.”



Charles Friedman recalled, “As a child growing up in Rockaway Beach,

my parents used to drive us to the airport, to park nearby to see the airplanes taking off & landing at this airport.

The airport closed by 1959, as it's demolition was done to replace it with a NY City housing project.

My mother went to work for the New York City Housing Authority in 1959,

and she was transferred to this housing project to help rent all of the apartments in this sprawling 24-building complex,

which replaced the Rockaway Airport in Edgemere.

The housing project was rented beginning in 1960.”



No airfield (or abandoned airfield) was depicted in Rockaway on the 1960 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe).



A 1966 aerial photo showed that the southern portion of the former Rockaway Airport

had been covered with an apartment development.



As seen in the 1994 USGS aerial photo,

the southern portion of the site of the former Rockaway Airport has been covered with an apartment development,

and not a trace appears to remain of the former airfield.

The northern edge of the site is occupied by the Rockaway Community Park.

 

The site of Rockaway Airport is located northeast of the intersection of Beach Channel Drive & Beach 54th Street.



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