Friday, February 9, 2007

To build or to blimp?

The Queens Chronicle reports:

Flushing Airport Plans On Hold For Another Year.

One group has a different idea for the site:

College Point Airship Park

26 acres...would make a nice park, don't you think? What was that about the mayor's plan for 2030?

Photo: Beck's Studio, Jackson Heights, NY


Anonymous said...

Why is it, that the politicians that so 'love' Queens are loath to provide its people green space, open area, sunlight and a place to stretch their legs.

Why does every spot need to be developed and built upon?

Can we start to ask them this on a regular basis?

Anonymous said...

That is an easy one.

Most politicians (and a good number on the community boards) have a dirty secret. They have a second home outside of the city.

They do not have their kids play out in the streets like their constituents.

Alan said...

I worked for many years and used thousands of dollars from my personal budget to promote the blimp port project. There were meetings at the CB#7 office with Congressman Crowley, City Councilwoman Julia Harrison, other elected officials and/or their representatives, and NYC Economic Development Corporation officials.

The Request For Proposals (RFP) was released without my being notified and I lost 2 weeks out of an 8 week response time. The response time was originally planned to be 6-8 months. What happened?

Of course, we all know that the community protested the Bloomberg selected wholesale project due to congestion and traffic issues but now, thanks to a recent NY Times article, we are also being labeled Archie Bunker bigots because the project was proposed by a Korean group.

I no longer think that the blimp port plan is feasible. The property
is overrun with trees and perhaps should be made into a park with a small area that can be used to recognize the site's aviation history. I would personally contribute a lot of material to such a memorial...which includes photos and videos. I feel that it would be a proud part of College Point history.

Finally, if you follow the link below to a photo on the blimp port website, you can see from the aerial view just how close the NY Times printing plant is to a large residential community. The noise from the construction echoes through the apartment building complexes.

Anonymous said...

The suggested building of a blimp port years back, was intended to keep the noisy air corridor of La Guardia from using this space for flying over residential Northeast neighborhoods.

Alan said...

That last comment is absolutely inaccurate. Congressman Crowley and other elected officials fought to keep the air exclusion over the abandoned Flushing Airport whether or not blimps were to return to the field. As proponent of the project, I had the full support of the airship operators in the United States as well as the support of the community. Community Board #7 requested the blimp port project in their line item budget request to NYC. The project did not succeed due to lack of cooperation from the NYC
Economic Development Corporation. The FAA airspace redesign takes place in 2012. I do not know yet if the exclusion will be maintained but I am reasonably sure that blimps will not be using the former Flushing Airport any time soon.

Wendy said...

Let's not dwell upon the past. The real issue here is the future use of a rather large tract of land in the middle of the College Point Corporate Park. Will Bloomberg, Doctoroff, and buddies want to further cripple the community with a project that will produce a lot of additional traffic and pollution? It seems like the NY Times addition is a done deal and very little community opposition might give developers ideas that they can get away with anything. I like the idea of a park and nature conservancy. It would be a token give back to a community that has had its share of congestion and overdevelopment.

Anonymous said...

This is sad. Lighter-than-air is on the rise, from unmanned models high in the sky to security blimps for the military and police (the U.S. Navy has it's first blimp since 1962, down in Lakehurst, N.J.) to the good old advertising blimp (of which Germany has the most advanced ship to date), and talk of a sightseeing blimp for New York this summer. I don't see why Flushing Airport still can't be a blimp mecca. As a local resident, I think it would be great for all the reason it would have been great when Airship International was trying to get it done in 1989...

Anonymous said...

At this point we won't need Helium to fill those blimps. Enough hot air has already been spent on the topic! Let's proceed to the present please.

Anonymous said...

That comment about the blimp port keeping the air exclusion corridor safe is accurate, although certainly not the complete reason for wanting to build the port (which was a great idea) Thanks Allan for your dedication. This is the kind of thinking that we need to encourage creative re-use of land and structures. College Point has a great aviation history....Edo Corporation, Curtiss-Wright? and ...wasn't it LFW or something? The Sikorsky building's shell, or facade, is still standing. Has anybody got any info on this out there? I know that there are some great photos at Poppenhusen Institute that depict some of these aviation wonders.

Alan said...

Thanks for the interest in aviation history and the blimp port. The benefit of maintaining the air exclusion was not my idea originally but members of the community saw this as a positive aspect of keeping an aviation operation on the property. But let us focus on the present and discuss the difference between what the community wants and needs (which is passive recreation) and the NYC Economic Development Corporation (which is more jobs, traffic, pollution, etc.).

If there is a lesson to be learned about the blimp port proposal and other developers' responses to the original RFP, it is that the community was not respected and their wishes fell on deaf ears.

One of the factors that would make any development problematic is the cost involved with clearing the land and mitigating wetland areas within the property. When I originally proposed the creation of the blimp port, the property had large tracts of open land and the water table had not risen as high as it is today. That is why I think that the property should be made into a park that area residents and visitors can enjoy.

When I was a young man working at Flushing Airport with the Goodyear blimps, I spent a lot of time in between flights walking around and enjoyed observing the various small animals such as rabbits, frogs, snakes, and various bird species. It is my opinion that this magical wonder should be preserved and enjoyed, not paved over and destroyed.

Anonymous said...

Alan, thank you for putting the respect and love of wildlife so beautifully! Passive parkland/nature preserve is the way to go now. Preserved open space is the ultimate luxury and a thing of lasting peace and beauty. This will, perhaps, make up for the disrespect that was shown to the community for its wishes and input by the city in the past. I greatly respect the long hours and personal finances that you contributed to the blimp port project. I've done similar with my own pet- project (both in time and $$$$$$$). We should all belive in and try to do what good we can for the communities we live in. If we fail, that should not discourage us. Kuddos to all who dare to "dream the impossible dream"!

wayne a. said...

sorry to hear that your plans now seem to have been dashed. i remember speaking with you at floyd bennett field 2 years ago, about this project. i was with a certain 'film' blimp crew at the time. it might have been nice to have had a 'blimp port' in queens, but i do agree that making it a park, which i believe you also included in your original plans, if i'm not mistaken, is probably in the best interest of the community. however, being that i'm an outsider, i really shouldn't voice an opinion. anyway, good luck to you alan, and keep the lta history alive.

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