The U.S. Marine Corps was represented at the plaque dedication by a color guard from the 6th Marine Communications Battalion stationed at the field. For many years, beginning in 1931, Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn was the city's first municipal airport. When Idlewild Airport came along in 1939, however, the airport's importance began to wane. Early in 1942, with World War II raging, the airport was turned over to the U.S. Navy and became Naval Air Station, New York (NASNY). It remained as a naval air station through WW II and Korea and into the Vietnam War era. Last Friday and Saturday, May 19 and 20, the field, which is now part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, and run by the National Park Service, held a multi-faceted celebration of the field's 75th Anniversary, including a USO-style big band concert, the dedication of a plaque in honor of NASNY, a display of antique aircraft and the latest version of the annual football game between the New York City Police Department and the New York City Fire Department.
|Congressman Anthony Weiner, (left) presented a flag that flew over the Congress to the park in honor of those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Weiner is very involved with the park as a supporter of the new sports complex being built there by Aviator Sports. Weiner spoke of those who served there. With the Congressman are MCPO Chet Atkinson (center), who served at NASNY during World War II and now leads its reunion group, and Barry T. Sullivan the Park's Superintendant. The Ryan Visitor Center was once the field's control tower. It now holds meeting and display rooms. Lisa E. Eckert, the new Superintendent of the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway NRA welcomed the vets who were once stationed at NASNY and the guests who came to the ceremony. Barry T. Sullivan is the General Superintendent for the entire park, the first urban national park in the United States. Sullivan said that Gateway is third in the list of most-visited national parks in America, mostly in terms of visitors to Riis Park during the summer months. Flowers were presented to the families of NYPD and FDNY officers who were killed in the line of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congressman Anthony Weiner flips the coin to see who would take the football game's kickoff. The Fire Department won both the coin flip and the game. For more on the game, see today's sports section. Color guards from both the NYPD and FDNY on the 50 yard line at the beginning of the pre-game ceremony. Two helicopters from the NYPD made a memorial "fly-by" in honor of those who died in the war on terror. Congressman Weiner, right, speaks with one of the NYPD coaches at the new football field. |