Detailed History of Floyd Bennett Field
In May of 1927 Charles Lindbergh flew non-stop from Roosevelt Field, Long Island to Paris. Billed as the New York to Paris flight, it actually took place outside of the city limits. New York City wanted an airport within the city limits.
A city panel selected Barren Island in Brooklyn as the location for New York's first municipal airport and it was named Floyd Bennett Field. Floyd Bennett was the naval pilot for Commander Richard E. Byrd's flight over the North Pole in 1926. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Floyd Bennett Field was dedicated on May 23, 1931. It was rated A-1-A, the highest classification of the Civil Aeronautics Board. It boasted concrete runways, fours hangers that could service the largest aircraft of the day, and an Administration Building that served as a terminal.
Floyd Bennett Field was a popular site for aviators who were seeking to break records. Twenty-six around the world or transatlantic flights started or ended at Floyd Bennett Field between 1931 and 1939.
For a site bulletin on the municipal airport years, 1931-1941 click here.
New York City found a more convienent location for a municipal airport that was closer to transportation. Municipal Airport #2, now known as LaGuardia Airport, opened in 1939. The city sold Floyd Bennett Field to the U.S. Navy. On June 2, 1941, Naval Air Station New York was dedicated at Floyd Bennett Field.
Click here to learn about World War II at Floyd Bennett Field.
Floyd Bennett Field's service didn't end at the war's end however. It was redesignated a Naval Air Reserve Training Station in 1946. With the Cold War and the Korea War intensifying the site was again redesignated. This time it became a Naval Air Station within the Naval Air Reserve System. Navy and Marine Aircraft Squadrons called the Field home and reserve units trained on weekends. With the U.S. scaling back the Vietnam War effort, Floyd Bennett Field was no longer needed. In 1971, the U.S. Navy deactivated the Field. Soon thereafter, the National Park Service made the location part of Gateway NRA.
Did You Know?
The first transatlantic flight departed from the Rockaway Naval Air Station on Jamaica Bay in 1919. Today, it is the site of Gateway NRA's Jacob Riis Park.