What is the history behind the JFK Airport?


Quick Answer

The history behind John F. Kennedy International Airport begins with Idlewild Golf Course, which was found on Jamaica Bay in the southern part of the borough of Queens, New York. Queens already had an airport, La Guardia, which was to the north, but it was becoming overcrowded.

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Full Answer

In 1943, construction began on Idlewild Airport. Interestingly, the name Idlewild was not officially the airport's name. It was originally named Major General Alexander E. Anderson Airport, then the name was changed to New York International Airport, Anderson Field on order of the New York City Council. President Harry Truman dedicated the airport on July 1, 1948

Idlewild was accessible to Manhattan, and had a modern look epitomized by the Trans World Airlines terminal, which was designed by Eero Saarinen, the Finnish architect. It became a hub of international traffic, as La Guardia was no longer permitted to service international flights. Shortly before its opening, the Port Authority leased the land on which Idlewild Airport sat from New York City, and it holds the lease as of 2015.

President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963, and within the month the airport's name was changed to honor him. The name change was proposed by the then-mayor of New York City, Robert Wagner.

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