Cuomo: New York's Airports are "Inexcusable"

Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - 03:09 PM

New York's governor used a press conference with the vice president to trash the city's airports.

"I don't want to give away news from tomorrow," the governor told Joseph Biden, as well as a room full of reporters, "but you're exactly right about the airports, even here in New York."

(Presumably, 'tomorrow' refers to the governor's forthcoming State of the State address.)

Cuomo continued: "LaGuardia, JFK are inexcusable, frankly, that they have not been redeveloped to keep pace with the best international airports. And that's something that we're going to attend to."

Cuomo was responding to a comment made by Biden, who was in Albany Tuesday for a presentation about New York's Sandy rebuilding efforts.

Biden, for his part, was recounting a conversation he once had with Secretary of State John Kerry.

"If I blindfolded you," Biden said, "and took you into an airport in China or Hong Kong, and you looked around, and I asked you where you were—assuming it was totally empty—most of you would say 'oh, this is really...this must be America."

He went on to say "the most modern airports in the world are in other parts of the world."

Cuomo did not describe what his plans for LaGuardia and JFK Airports are. A press release laying out the state's Sandy rebuilding efforts read: "To make New York’s JFK and LaGuardia airports more resilient, the Port Authority will use $257 million to install tide gates and drainage, new emergency generation capabilities and elevated fuel facilities, a new signage communications system, and build a flood wall at LaGuardia airport."

The Global Gateway Alliance, a nonprofit group of business leaders who want to upgrade the region's airports, sent out an email heralding the governor's comments. "New York area airports are vital to our region and the nation, but they simply aren’t up to 21st Century standards."

The city's airports are operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is overseen by the governors of both states. The authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A video of the press conference is here. Cuomo's words about the airports come at 52:40.



Comments [11]

Commuter from NYC

what happened to Moynihan station? All the buz a couple of years ago and now the project seems dormant. Many staff changes at empire state development since this is another authority running a muke by a bunch of political appointees. Some reporter needs to follow up on this corrupt project.

Jan. 09 2014 06:02 PM
Downsized worker from New Yorker

Governor finds Port Authority & Airports inexcusable. Well, he might want to go to his Department of Labor offices around the state where there is no wifi for ppl waiting, no scanners to assist job seekers and the staff have no pulse of employment trends.

Jan. 09 2014 03:23 PM
Carol from Scarsdale, NY

We just came back from Southeast Asia and were at the following airports:
Hong Kong, Hanoi, Hoi An, Hue, Saigon, Siem Reap & Bangkok. All the airports were clean, had good food and some extravagant shopping. What I found even MORE welcoming was that they ALL had FREE luggage carts that we could use around the airport (even behind security for the major ones) for the convenience of the passengers. How thoughtful and convenient.

Coming back to JFK and realizing that if you are visiting the states for the first time, not only do you need to get change to have a $5 bill in hand, but you have to pay for a luggage cart that all other countries, EVEN developing ones, have managed to offer for free. It made me feel bad for the impression we give our visitors. How unwelcoming it is!

In addition, they also had places to quickly purchase a SIM card right at your disposal. Things to think about….

Jan. 08 2014 02:13 PM
Joseph Burns

By far the worst part of these airports is the sad state of the day to day maintenance of the public facilities. The workers are unionized and yet don't give a damn about doing the job they're being overpaid to do.

Jan. 08 2014 01:20 PM
Paula from NYC

Penn Station is the worst! What a ghastly introduction to the city it is -- the station and the surrounding area. Union Station in DC is such a lovely way to enter the city by contrast.

I hope the Governor's resolve sticks. But to be fair, it's not just NYC. Heathrow is just as bad and in some ways much worse (the arrivals hall for baggage claim is like one of the circles of Hell from Dante's Inferno). And the miles of corridor from the gates . . . agghhh.

New airports built in developing countries have had a lot of advantages that older airports in established neighborhoods don't. An explanation, but it shouldn't be an excuse. Again -- hope the Governor gets it done.

New York ought to be the showplace of the world in all aspects.

Jan. 08 2014 11:37 AM
Juergen Kuehn from CT

Our airports are a disgrace. We always claim "We are number 1", really? Everything concerning our airports is substandard, how we get there, how the terminals look, the stores are embarrassing, and the worst part: THE FOOD that is offered there. I could go on and on, but it is too depressing. Final word, our airports are the first impression travelers get who come to our shores. We should be ashamed to offer them such an embarrassing entry to "NUMBER 1, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

Jan. 08 2014 09:56 AM

Did someone just wake up! We rant and rave, feature the worst locations and aspects of so-called 'third world countries', but why doesn't our media features their airports (and their upscale locations). If they did we wouldn't be stuck with the run down excuses we have to endure whenever travel takes us beyond our territorial borders. Let's get beyond talk.

Jan. 08 2014 09:17 AM
Paul from Westchester

JFK and LGA are both airports that would be inadequate in third world country. They both conistently limbo under the bar of low expectations.

Jan. 08 2014 08:54 AM
dpatriss from new york city

About time! And not only the airports themselves but the way we have to get to them. Takes forever and costs too much by taxi or private companies. Traffic is horrendous. And by subway and air train is a horror especially with suitcases. The subways are no substitute especially in rush hours for an air train that takes one to Manhattan especially for tourists. Of course Congress doesn't care about any kind of public transportation so nothing will get done.

Jan. 08 2014 08:01 AM
Theresa LaSalle from Jackson Heights, N.Y.

What's inexcusable is the MTA and the trains ..especially those coming from Queens..."7" and "E"

Jan. 08 2014 07:35 AM
Marc Schechter from NYC

Wow, talk about deja vu, this was Giuliani's beef in the late 1990s. To be fair to the Port Authority (ouch, hurts to say), JFK is a lot better than it was 20 years ago. Terminals 1,4,5,8 have all been built in the last 15 years or less. The embarrassment that was Terminal 3 is now gone. The main problem the airport suffers from now is lack of proper maintenance - but this common to most New York public spaces, which tend to be filthier and dingier than the public spaces in other global cities. LaGuardia, however, is a total mess, with no significant investment made in the last 20 years. But we are told a rebuild is in the works....

Jan. 07 2014 08:54 PM

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