PANYNJ Celebrates 100th Anniversary – Metropolitan Airport News


Dear Metropolitan Airport News readers,
The Port Authority of NY/NJ has operational responsibility for facilities spanning a 1,500 square mile area within the New York metropolitan area. These facilities include seaports, bridges, tunnels, rail, bus depots, office towers, airports as well as numerous administrative, and material support structures that are sprinkled throughout their operational area.
The broadness of this mission grew out of a seemingly innocuous statement made by the founding authorities representing both the states of New York and New Jersey in 1921; “To undertake any project concerning any transport mode as long as it would promote commerce, trade and public good.” 
The Port Authority was created to deal with port and maritime transportation concerns that were part of its founding, but have grown to include other vested interests besides the maritime activities, all of which account for an impressive portfolio of facilities.
The article that follows has a prime focus on the aviation side of the Port’s responsibilities, and covers the birth and early years of the major airports. To bring our readers up to date we have identified links directing them from the past to the present. 
We did not forget Stewart New York International and Teterboro Airports, and will take them up in a separate piece. While they are not in the same ballpark as far as passenger and freight volumes, their history is just as interesting.
As always, our readers are encouraged to contact us at if you have other facts or personal comments or experiences with regard to the airports. Joseph alba, Editor-in-chief

“As the Port Authority celebrates its first century of public service that has seen us transform the way people and goods travel throughout the region, it’s worth pausing a moment to recognize the remarkable contributions made by our airports,” said Port Authority Aviation Director Huntley A. Lawrence. “These legendary facilities and their histories are writ large across the decades as renowned gateways to New York and the United States for visitors from throughout the country and around the globe. They have pioneered many of the aviation world’s firsts—the first paved runway, the first nighttime operations, and the first air traffic control tower, among many other accomplishments. But rather than resting on these legacies that launched in the first half of the last century, our agency has committed to a record program of investment and redevelopment that will ensure our airports provide world-class service at world-class facilities for the century to come.”

Historical Background

After WWI, the economy started to grow, but it had not yet completed all the adjustments in shifting from a wartime to a peacetime economy. Some factors identified as contributing to a temporary downturn in 1920 and 1921 were returning troops which created a surge in the civilian labor force and problems in absorbing the veterans, a decline in labor union strife, changes in fiscal and monetary policy, and changes in price expectations.

The Depression of the early 1920’s was a sharp deflationary recession in the United States, United Kingdom and other countries, beginning 14 months after the end of World War I. It lasted from January 1920 to July 1921.The extent of the deflation that was the primary symptom of this downturn was not only large, but large relative to the accompanying decline in real gross national product. 

Jammed packed NY/NJ harbor prompting the need for a centralized and unbiased agency.

However, even with the deflation, economic growth in the 1920’s was impressive. Ownership of cars, new household appliances, and housing was spread widely through the population. New products and processes of producing those products drove this growth. The combination of the widening use of electricity in production and the growing adoption of the moving…

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