2006-05-19 / Community

75th Anniversary Of Floyd Bennett Field

An opening celebration for the 75th anniversary of the dedication of Floyd Bennett Field will be held on Saturday, May 20, with a ceremony beginning at 1:45 p.m., to celebrate the field's three decades as a military base.

The afternoon's activities, led by National Park Service historians and other Gateway Recreation Area officials, will include the unveiling of a permanent plaque acknowledging the contributions made by thousands of Navy veterans who served at the field; the opening of the Rudy Arnold Gallery, which will feature an exhibit of Floyd Bennett Field artifacts; a two-hour Big Band concert by Arnie Mig and the Serenaders in Blue; tours of the field and control tower from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and a collection of historic aircraft.

Constructed as New York City's first municipal airport and dedicated on May 23, 1931, the field was named for the famous naval aviator and Brooklyn resident Floyd Bennett.

Bennett rose to fame as the pilot for Richard E. Byrd, the first to fly over the North Pole on May 9, 1926.

Bennett and Byrd were awarded the Medal of Honor for their efforts. Bennett contracted pneumonia and died in Quebec, Canada, on April 25, 1928 while on a rescue mission to save the crew of an aircraft that had crashed in Labrador, Canada. For more information on the anniversary celebration, contact Gateway National Recreation Area at (718) 354-4606.

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