The first new gates in LaGuardia Airport‘s Terminal B will open this Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier today. The opening will inaugurate the first of two concourses and 11 of the 35 total gates that will service Air Canada, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. This is the first phase of Cuomo’s larger $8 billion overhaul to create “a whole new LaGuardia.” The new concourse will feature retail space, a “food hall,” complete with local mini-chains like Shake Shack, Irving Farm coffee, and La Chula taqueria, as well as an indoor park (a design feature Cuomo is also implementing at JFK).
“The opening of the first new concourse and gates at Terminal B marks another significant milestone in the transformation of LaGuardia Airport into a modern, global gateway that is worthy of the State of New York,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “While leaders in Washington only talk about investing in infrastructure, in New York we are actually getting it done, and now travelers from across the world will start to see and experience a whole new LaGuardia.”
The 250,000-square-foot concourse boasts 55-foot-high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that allow light to fill the space, which is further freshened up by an indoor park complete with benches, landscaping, and real trees. Amenities include charging stations, free unlimited WiFi, a children’s play area, and a private nursing room.
As 6sqft previously reported, the food hall is going to be a veritable foodie destination, with options including popular New York establishments such as Shake Shack, La Chula, Osteria Fusco, Kingside and Irving Farm Coffee. Travelers will also be able to partake in another, very New York food experience — delivery! — with the possibility of having food delivered straight to their gate. Retail venues will include FAO Schwarz, McNally Jackson, and a District Market, which will feature a variety of “Made in Queens” products available through a partnership with the Queens Economic Development Corp.
The new terminal is part of the ongoing overhaul of LaGuardia Airport, an undertaking that broke ground in 2016. When completed, the new 2.7 million square foot LaGuardia Airport will be the first new airport built in the U.S. in more than 25 years. Construction is currently ongoing at Terminal C on the eastern side of the airport, with an expected opening in 2021. A formal environmental review is underway for the proposed AirTrain LGA, which would provide a reliable trip to LaGuardia from Midtown Manhattan in 30 minutes.
The extreme outdatedness of LaGuardia made national headlines back in 2014 when Joe Biden said it was like “landing in a third-world nation.” In his speech today, Cuomo pointed to this comment and how LaGuardia has become “a metaphor for the infrastructure in the state, it’s a metaphor for the infrastructure in the nation,” perhaps a reference to his meeting yesterday with Donald Trump that did not result in a funding commitment for the Gateway Tunnel project.
But as Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said: “As project after project is completed, the once outdated facility is transforming LaGuardia Airport into a world-class, 21st-century transportation hub. The new gates will not only ease passenger travel, but they will also offer the amenities that all visitors have come to expect at international airports today.”