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Contact: Brian Feeney, 718-354-4606
The work will include the repair and restoration of interior finishes and architectural features that will bring the building back to its 1939 appearance when it served as the airport’s passenger terminal building.
Improved visitor amenities will include new exhibits, a new bookstore, fully renovated restrooms, an elevator, and new information and permitting areas; visitors will also enjoy the comforts of a new heating and air conditioning system. A full upgrade of the building’s electrical and plumbing
system will also be part of this $4.8 million restoration, a project made possible by the strong support of Congressman Anthony Weiner.
To facilitate the restoration work, on February 1, 2009 Gateway will close the Ryan Center for approximately 18 months. During that time the ranger staff and all visitor services will transfer to the Ranger Station at the entrance to Floyd Bennett Field. For more information visitors should contact Jennifer Bethea at 718-338-3799.
Floyd Bennett Field opened in 1931 as New York City’s first municipal airport. Building 1, as the Ryan Center was known then, served as the control tower and passenger terminal building.
During the 1930’s “Golden Age of Aviation” thousands gathered around Building 1 to watch as new aviation records were set by Howard Hughes, Wiley Post, Amelia Earhart, and Jacqueline Cochran. During this time there was significant beautification done to the building by the Works Progress Administration.
In June of 1941 Floyd Bennett Field was acquired by the U.S. Navy who designated it Naval Air Station New York. During World War II Floyd Bennett Field quickly became the most critical Naval Air Station on the East Coast serving as a supply hub, aircraft delivery staging ground, and the home for submarine- hunting and convoy protection squadrons. Its military service to the nation continued through the Korean War and the Vietnam War until the Naval Air Station was closed in 1972 and transferred to the National Park Service as part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.