2007-11-30 / Community

Federal Bill Funds Floyd Bennett Restoration

By Nicholas Briano

Congressman Anthony Weiner, always a strong supporter for the preservation of Gateway National Recreation Area and Jamaica Bay, has secured some more money for the area to restore the Ryan Center that overlooks Floyd Bennett Field into a first-class visitor center to accommodate Gateway's four million visitors each year.

Floyd Bennett Field's Ryan Center will be restored into a first- class visitor center for Gateway National Recreation Area. Floyd Bennett Field's Ryan Center will be restored into a first- class visitor center for Gateway National Recreation Area. Rockaway's U.S. Congressional representative has locked up $4.8 million for the restoration project from the 2008 Defense Appropriations Bill, which is annually compiled by Congress to provide funding for numerous federal activities. The renovated facility will serve as the epicenter of Gateway, with complete visitor information for the park's amenities and a special exhibit entailing the history of Floyd Bennett Field.

The Ryan Center, located at Floyd Bennett Field, is no stranger to history. Built in 1931, it was the passenger terminal for New York City's first airport. Throughout World War II it was also used as a hub for fighter planes and is currently being used for a marine reserve unit and has made the National Register of Historic Places. The Center will feature the original Navy control deck turned into a panoramic view deck, making Jamaica Bay and the New York City skyline all visible within its parameters.

Views like this one of Jamaica Bay and the New York skyline will be featured when the refurbished panoramic view deck of the control tower is opened to visitors. Views like this one of Jamaica Bay and the New York skyline will be featured when the refurbished panoramic view deck of the control tower is opened to visitors. "We want the building to be as majestic as its history," said Weiner. "This funding will continue to fuel an ongoing renaissance at Gateway that will allow even more New Yorkers to enjoy the outdoors without leaving the Big Apple."

The renaissance Weiner is referring to was spurred by the over $70 million he has secured since 1998 for renovation projects at Gateway to help preserve the Jamaica Bay wetlands, wildlife, historic sites, and recreation areas. Gateway is one of the most notable parks in New York measuring a healthy 19,000 acres, more than all other New York City parks combined. Gateway is also the fourth most-visited national park in the country.

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