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They Paved Paradise...And Put Up An Airport?
Sean Conroe, 24 Jul 09

Word on the street is that New York City may be getting a new addition: The Manhattan Airport. And what better place to develop it than on the largest piece of undeveloped land in New York City -- Central Park?

According to The Manhattan Airport Foundation's website:

“New York City is the cultural and financial capital of the world. It is also our nation’s most densely populated urban area. Yet surprisingly, New York City has no viable airport. JFK, La Guardia and Newark may work for people who live in certain outer boroughs. But they are not an acceptable option for the majority of New Yorkers, requiring travel through some of the most congested traffic arteries in the nation. A journey which by train takes nearly two hours and by automobile can take up to three hours. For a place which purports itself to be the greatest city in the world, this is not a workable model..”
“Public dollars helped create Central Park in the 1850s. And public responsibility dictates that we transform this underutilized asset into something we so desperately need today.”


At first glance, the MAF may sound legit, albeit absurd or ingenious, depending on your stance. But closer inspection proves otherwise: an address for their headquarters that doesn’t exist, conflicting dates and an overwhelming sense of irony in all of its writings. With all these holes in the story, it seems safe to conclude that the Manhattan Airport is some sort of hoax, a scheme with ulterior motives.

We don't quite know who they are, but we’ve a sneaking suspicion that the MAF is a Yes Men-esque hoax aimed at turning the spotlight on issues such as mass transit, land use policy and/or urbanization.

Remember a few months back when CyClone Dairy opened it’s doors? Little did most visitors know that it would ultimately be a project by Ben & Jerry’s to garner attention to the issue of cloning in animals. Understanding the backstory of where your food comes from, in other words, was the main intent for the creation of CyClone Dairy. I immediately thought about this as soon as I heard about the MAF.


What I’m drawn to with this park-turned-airport concept is how people are connecting and talking to each other about the plans to pave over paradise. Whether or not you agree with the group, believe they are real, or understand it to be a hoax, you almost can't help but to stop and think about our built environment, our access to green space and why a balance between the two is a necessary step in bridging over to a bright green future.

What about you? What thoughts does this spark about public and private space, the future of air travel, the importance of creative activism, or anything else?

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if its a hoax i think its brilliant. the sheer insanity of the idea gets people talking, not to mention bent over in hysterics...

Posted by: ana on 24 Jul 09

Any level-headed person would conclude that there is simply no way for airplanes to descend quickly enough into Central Park with all of the tall buildings surrounding it; plus, New Yorkers would never go for having airplanes regularly doing flybys of their skyscrapers.
I think the idea of making people upset to make a point is repugnant; there is enough in the world to worry about today without fabricating stories just to get people whipped up in a frenzy.

Posted by: JAG on 24 Jul 09

I guess, President Obama should say: this is stupid

Posted by: Erik van Erne, Milieunet Foundation on 25 Jul 09

I have never been in Central Park and it is quite conceivable that I shall never be there. That said, it literally infuriated me when I read this headline to even think that there might have been individuals or organizations entertaining such a horrendous idea.

It must be a hoax. That said, sane peoples everywhere must remain vigilant, for the developers are ever on the prowl for the next green space to destroy for a buck.

Central Park is as much a part of the "idea" that is New York as is the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and all the other icons making up the myth, the essence, of the city. The idea of paving over Central Park is insanity. It would be inhumane. Don't mess with Central Park. In fact, stay away from all our urban green spaces.

Posted by: Austintatious on 25 Jul 09

I definitely believe this to be a hoax and a joke. It's clearly meant to shed the light on our disconnect with nature, and hopefully push people to see what is happening to the Commons of the United States. Our parks are being shut down across the country, leaving them open for development by corporations.

Posted by: Sean Kendle on 25 Jul 09

Many years ago, satirical artist Bruce McCall drew a picture of exactly that: airplanes landing in Central Park and the passengers merrily tripping off to cocktails at the Oak Room.
Other key to the hoax: the real NYC area "fourth airport", Stewart in Newburgh, is already being developed, but slowly, since the actual need for airlines is currently down with air traffic and airline profitablity itself.

Posted by: Henry Lowengard on 25 Jul 09

Man, you guys really need to work on your linkage skills.


other than that good article.

Posted by: anon on 27 Jul 09


Posted by: Brittany on 27 Jul 09

I knew from the first line it was a hoax. First of all, obviously Central Park could never be turned into an airport as JAG says. Secondly, New Yorkers would never accept to turn Central Park into an airport. It is a sacred, untouchable green space that makes the city livable.

Posted by: Sarah on 29 Jul 09

this story must have been set up to modify public opinion about some other (airport?) project to make it look less environmentally & socially unacceptable

Posted by: Ieva on 2 Sep 09

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