Brooklyn’s Jewel

A National Park Service project reclaims aviation history.

On July 14, 1938, thousands gathered for the return of Howard Hughes, who in four days had flown a Lockheed Super Electra around the world. (NASM (Rudy Arnold Photo Collection,SI NEG. #0XRA-4766-PM))
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After listening to a briefing from a park ranger in a lovingly restored terminal building, visitors can walk out to the tarmac and see things much as they were in the 1930s—the field surrounded by wetlands, no skyline in sight. The only things that could possibly disrupt the reverie are the low-flying jumbo jets on their approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport and a nagging anxiety about the traffic that awaits on the Belt Parkway, heading back to the city.

David Shaftel, a writer from New York City, is now stationed in Mumbai, India, as a correspondent for the New Delhi-based Tehelka group of publications.

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