Airport: Terminal Nights and Runway Days at John F. Kennedy International Airport

Overview

JFK International Airport is a rich symbol of many things: of America both ascendant and in decline, of modern aviation and its predicament, of urban planning and urban decay. For many of us, Kennedy is also Idlewild - a mystic holdover from the early days of flight, evoking the freedom of air travel, the glamour of a bygone era, and the optimism of getting away from it all. But for many travelers, Kennedy is a horror, the place where taxi drivers won't take you, a maze of meaningless buildings where it's ...
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NY 1994 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Gift Quality. Pristine. Tight. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Collectors item. Carefully packed in bubble wrap. 1st Edition. ... Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 278 p. Audience: General/trade. Gift Quality. Pristine. Tight. Brand New. Fast Arrival. Collectors item. Carefully packed in bubble wrap. 1st Edition. Read more Show Less

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Overview

JFK International Airport is a rich symbol of many things: of America both ascendant and in decline, of modern aviation and its predicament, of urban planning and urban decay. For many of us, Kennedy is also Idlewild - a mystic holdover from the early days of flight, evoking the freedom of air travel, the glamour of a bygone era, and the optimism of getting away from it all. But for many travelers, Kennedy is a horror, the place where taxi drivers won't take you, a maze of meaningless buildings where it's impossible to change from one airline to another without running a gauntlet of beggars and baggage hustlers, a sink of crime and corruption more rife with theft than the old-time New York waterfront - or the souk of Baghdad, for that matter. Over several years of virtually living at JFK, James Kaplan discovered that the airport has become, over the years, a world all its own, with a huge transient population and a large and bustling cast of regular characters - many of them on public display, many more of them permanently hidden from view. Until now. In The Airport, Kaplan reveals the airport nobody knows. The decommissioned pilot who roams the back runways, on a search-and-destroy mission for nesting gulls. The army of service people who check the more than seven thousand lights on the runways and taxiways, and the jungle of underground pipes supplying Kennedy's insatiable thirst for fuel. There's a spiritual side to Kennedy, and several underutilized clergymen out there to minister to the faithful. There is a bustling medical center (Kennedy boasts one heart attack every day); battalions of pilots, flight attendants, and freight handlers, as well as thieves, con artists, policemen, and customs inspectors. Periodically, the rescue teams prepare for the unthinkable airplane crash (we're spectators at such a practice); every day several gleaming Concordes take off and land (we're also along for one of those rides). In all, The Airport is a rich and surprising v

No other air terminal matches JFK's magnitude or mystique. Now a celebrated journalist offers a memorable portrait, illuminating the varied people within one of the most romanticized and most reviled airports in the world. Photos. A Reader's Digest Condensed Book Selection.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kaplan, a novelist ( Pearl's Progress ) and journalist, writes engaging vignettes depicting New York's famed (and often maddening) JFK airport. He introduces Sammy Chevalier, who oversees Kennedy's crucial bird patrol, keeping engines safe, and 80-year-old Dr. Louis Abelson, founder of the airport medical facility, who can park anywhere at Kennedy with impunity. Kaplan observes a full-scale disaster drill, listens in on airport security precautions and accompanies a Department of Agriculture inspector checking for contraband. Kaplan writes with style and wit, but his book seems even more a mosaic than JFK itself. Photos not seen by PW. Reader's Digest Condensed Books selection. (June)
Library Journal
Profiling John F. Kennedy International, one of the busiest airports in the world, Kaplan assembles vignettes of the lesser-known aspects of airport control, e.g., the ``Birdman'' who patrols runways for dangerous gulls, the cab drivers trying to earn a living, and the arrivals of Third World exiles and their first tastes of America. The bulk of the book is a history of the airport and its importance to the New York metropolitan area. The remaining text offers interesting trivia and stories involving customs inspectors, plane crashes, and how the fortunes of the airlines affect employees. All in all, this reads like a collection of magazine articles and lacks cohesiveness. Only regional collections need consider.-Eric C. Shoaf, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence
Joe Collins
This is an unusual idea for a book, and Kaplan admits the obvious at the outset: that much of the day-to-day information herein will be hopelessly out-of-date in a short time. Actually, "The Airport" seems to be a grown-up version of a young readers' series on the operations of a large airport. As a result of this nuts-and-bolts approach, initial chapters featuring the hustle and bustle of airport life, strange airport characters, and descriptions of baggage-handler tasks tend toward the mundane. Even discussions of how the airport personnel felt when a Pan Am jet out of Frankfort, Germany, blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, are obvious. Only when Kaplan delves into why JFK International is truly famous does the book catch fire; then there's plenty of hot gossip about pilots and flight attendants. Finally, there are cogent comments about the change in air travel from the 1960s, when only the wealthy flew, to the anyone-can-fly, reduced-fare 1990s.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688092474
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 278
  • Product dimensions: 6.45 (w) x 9.53 (h) x 1.09 (d)

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