From a bench in Planeview Park spectators watch commercial jets take place and land at La Guardia Airport in Queens.
Today, I took the Q47 bus in Queens to the Marine Air Terminal at La Guardia International Airport. The bus line meanders through East Elmhurst, a neighborhood of detached homes north of Northern Boulevard that conforms to the crescent shape of the Grand Central Parkway. Considering that a busy airport abuts the neighborhood, it's a relatively quiet place for New York City. Along the route, I notice small neighborhood parks, a centrally located shopping mall (which is home to Cannelle Patisserie, one of the best bakeries in the city). The bus crosses Astoria Boulevard and terminates at the airport terminal. If you have never been to the Marine Air Terminal, it's worth a visit even if you are not scheduled for a flight. The building marks the first structure on the site of the airport when commercial flights were chartered seaplanes (yes, these planes landed in Bowery Bay). Inside the terminal, look up, and take pleasure in a 360° mural detailing humanity's contributions to technology. It's a lightly traveled terminal; however, it is good to note that there are rather clean bathrooms at the entrance and a small café (at which I did not have lunch). I felt like exploring more of the airport's grounds and remembered a place where one can watch planes take off and land on one of the airport's two landing strips. So I walked along a security fence that borders the strip and watched a few commercial jets take off. Apparently, my presence invoked the curiosity of the Port Authority security task force because within minutes I noticed a police van pull up and a security officer said, "Hey. This is a restricted area. We would like it if you didn't stand here." I said meekly that I liked watching the planes take off and land. The guy was unmoved by my sudden confession of loving planes. For a brief moment, I had this terrible thought that he may think I am doing something suspicious. Before I had a chance to speak, he gave a half-apology and said, "Yeah. But you make the guys nervous. You know." I acquiesced to his gentle command to remove myself and asked him where I could safely watch the planes. That's how I found out about the Planeview Park. "Just walk that way," the guy said, pointing in the direction of the expressway. "I think there is a park on the other side of the Grand Central Parkway."