Marine Park

From the (1939) WPA Guide to New York City:

Marine Park, Fillmore Avenue between Gerritsen Avenue and East Thirty-eighth Street, is a two-thousand-acre tract of marshland, cut by sluggish creeks lined with houseboats on stilts and boat landings connected with Flatbush Avenue by long wooden catwalks. Most of this land was donated to the city in 1920 by the Whitney family with the proviso that it be converted into a public park. As yet (1939) little improvement has been made. Plans include a model yacht basin, lagoon, stadium, outdoor theater, riding ring, six recreation areas, baseball fields, and a canal.

Floyd Bennett Field, Flatbush Avenue and Jamaica Bay, one of New York's two municipal airports, covers a rectangular expanse of 387 acres surrounded by fens bordering Jamaica Bay. It was dedicated by Mayor James J. Walker in 1931 and named for Floyd Bennett, the aviator who piloted Admiral Byrd across the North Pole in 1926.

Carefully planned to handle a large volume of traffic and built on reclaimed marshland by hydraulic fill sixteen feet above sea level, Floyd Bennett Field has not been a commercial success because of its distance from the heart of the city. The only commercial planes using it are those of the American Airlines, flying between Boston and New York.

The airport's attractive Administration Building is flanked by eight fireproof hangars, each measuring 120 by 140 feet. Four concrete runways, ways, from 3,200 to 4,200 feet long and from 100 to 150 feet wide, crisscross the field. The two towers at the landing zone are equipped with 5,000,000-candle-power floodlights, which supplement the regular beacon boundary, and obstruction lights. Blind landings at the field are facilitated by directional radio beam and a special runway bordered by contact lights.

Its site on Jamaica Bay makes Floyd Bennett Field particularly suitable for seaplanes, an advantage impressively demonstrated in 1933 by the visit of twenty-four giant Italian seaplanes under General Italo Balbo on their way home after a transatlantic trip to the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. A ramp for seaplanes, 50 by 220 feet, at the eastern end of the field, gives access to ample water space.

Most of the airplanes housed at the field are owned by individuals, flying clubs, and a few flying schools. Many belong to the U.S. Naval and Marine Aviation Base, the Coast Guard, and the New York City Police Department. Courses in aviation are available to civilians. Some private planes specialize in sightseeing trips; more than 85,000 passengers made flights from 1931 to 1938.

The field's strategic location, its long runways and clear approaches have made it a frequent base for long distance flights. The first was the nonstop transatlantic trip of 5,014 miles to Istanbul, Turkey, made in 1931 by Russell Boardman and John Polando. In 1933 Wiley Post began and ended here his sensational solo flight around the world in 7 days, 18 hours, and 49 1/2 minutes. In 1938 Howard Hughes and four companions embarking from Floyd Bennett Field, circled the globe and reduced Post's record to 3 days, 19 hours, and 8 minutes. Others who have taken off from the airport on noted flights include Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon, Jr., James Mattern and Bennett Griffin, Roscoe Turner, the flying Hutchinson family, and Frank Hawks. The field is the official eastern terminal for all coast-to-coast record flights made under the supervision of the National Aviation Association Contest Committee. The register of the airport, signed by all flyers as they arrive and leave, is a signal collection of names famous in aviation history.

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