Union_square_airport If you've ever flown out of New York City, you know that it can be a nightmare actually getting out of Manhattan to the airport -- it doesn't matter if you fly out of LGA, JFK or even EWR. Plus, with all the anti-terrorism measures enacted since 9/11, getting through security and checking in at any of these airports can take much longer than ever expected. With that in mind, New York Magazine recently asked design firm SHoP Architects to suggest a radical design to overhaul New York's three-airport system. One answer might just be the ability to check-in at locations around Manhattan like Union Square (pictured), and then take a dedicated high-speed rail link from there to the airport:

"No one doubts that the city needs a new airport: Our gateways to the sky are inconvenient, inefficient vestiges of decades past, their weaknesses made all the more apparent by the fact that the transport hub at the other end of a flight to or from New York is almost always sleeker and less chaotic than our three-headed monster...

SHoP Architects responded to our request for a superior fourth-airport proposal with a fascinating scheme for solving the space crunch using the ones we already have. It’s a high-speed-rail loop, in which trains would serve both as a means of conveyance to the airport and, in effect, as the airport. In a bold new check-in paradigm, passengers would get their boarding passes and go through security at special stations in Union Square and Red Hook (and Astoria and Grand Central and …), then hop on trains that would let them out directly at their plane. Such an approach would have the added benefit of reducing the airport space devoted to terminals, making room for more runways. Aviation experts will no doubt find holes to poke here—but this is our future-jet-age fantasy, and if Amsterdam can figure out how to put a commuter-rail depot underneath the airport food court, we can certainly get a few trains up and running..."

Anyway, be sure to check out the cool graphics included with the article: (1) The New & Improved JFK and (2) The Inter-Airport, High-Speed Shuttle System.

[image: New York Magazine]