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August 26, 2014

Awesome Vintage Aviation Photos: New York International Airport

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(Editor’s note: Welcome to Time Travel Tuesday, a nine-part series celebrating the airports, airlines, and aircraft of yesteryear, through the vintage aviation photos of William J. Armstrong. In Part One and Part Two, we explored the airports of the Midwest, while Part Three explored the airports of the Western United States. Then we went international, with Canada in Part Four, and Europe in Part Five. In Part Six and Part Seven, we toured airports along the East Coast. Last week, we arrived in New York with a collection of photos from LaGuardia and Flushing Airports. This week, we conclude our series with the gem of the collection: Bill’s photos of New York International Airport. Commonly known as Idlewild (the name taken from the golf course that once occupied the land), you might know it as JFK.) 

It is indeed an honor to introduce this series of aviation photos taken by my good friend William J. Armstrong. Our friendship spanned almost a half century, and blossomed because of our common interest in aviation. As time went on, we found common interests in many things, and at one time our professional careers crossed paths and I had the privilege of working with Bill.

We see Bill here because of his aviation photography, and he was among the few who would spend time at an airport for the sole purpose of taking photos of airplanes and observing operations. Bill began doing this during the late 1950s, and continued into the start of the Jet age. His photos are a look back in time, to when propellers were the order of the day, and when you walked across an often oil stained tarmac to your waiting plane. In those days, weather radar and instrument landing systems were the latest revolutionary developments in air travel.

Bill was interested in aviation, but in actuality if it moved he was interested. His knowledge of transportation systems, whether they traveled by rail, air, sea, or road, were legendary to his friends and fellow professionals. He also had keen interests in history, classical music, opera, swimming, travel, and the list goes on. He was a graduate of Columbia University, and Iona College with a masters degree. But for all his varied interests, Bill was always a humble person, never once forgetting the friends he met along the way.

Click to enlarge photos

New York International Airport (IDL)

Construction of New York International began in 1943, and the airport opened on July 1, 1948.

 

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

On December 24th, 1963, fifteen years after the airport opened and one month after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, New York International Airport was renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport.

This collection was curated by NYCAviation Associate Editor Ben Granucci. All images are copyright John F. Ciesla, all rights reserved.