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LaGuardia via Shea

September 25, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments
Shea Stadium

Looking into Shea Stadium

In tomorrow’s New York Times, Michael Schmidt writes about the impact the closing of Shea Stadium will have on airline pilots who have used it for 44 years as a landmark in making visual approaches to LaGuardia Airport. (The New York Mets baseball team finish their regular season at Shea on Sunday. If they fail to make the playoffs, that will be its final use. Otherwise, it will be used until their final playoff or World Series home game. The replacement stadium is being built next to Shea and will open next season.)

As a Long Island kid, I watched Shea Stadium go up and attended many Mets game there, plus a some Jets football games. It had the then-cool feature of two small sets of moveable stands. These would face each other during football season, but move towards home plate, almost touching each other, for baseball season, allowing the seating to be customized in a manner suitable for the type of play. Of course, this didn’t actually work well. The Jets abandoned Shea after the 1983 season for football-only Giants Stadium in New Jersey and the Mets will now have, at last, a baseball-only stadium.

I also enjoyed flying into LaGuardia just past Shea, as the article describes:

“We make a sweeping turn around Shea Stadium to land, and you bank the airplane and out of the corner of your eye you can see the scoreboard and the players,” said Joe Romanko, a pilot with American Airlines since 1990, who estimated that he had taken off from and landed at La Guardia 1,000 times.

“As you start coming around from right field to center field around the stadium, the fact that there is no back on the stadium allows you to see all the way in,” Romanko added, referring to Shea’s C-shape design. “It’s more dramatic at night because you track the lights on the stadium from way out. You can follow the lights all the way in and then you see the grass and the players.”

I’ll miss that.

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