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What can Mickey Mouse do for LaGuardia?
One adjective travelers to LaGuardia Airport wouldn’t use to describe the experience is “fun.”
But that’s the word executives from LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the consortium of private companies that’s rebuilding much of the airport and taking over some operations, used with the Newsday editorial board on Tuesday when they provided an update on the $4 billion renovation of the main terminal, connecting concourses, parking and shopping.
Part of the fix, they said, will be a psychological one — improving travelers’ experiences by adding a bit of Disney-style pixie dust.
Ed Baklor, LaGuardia Gateway Partners’ chief commercial officer, previously worked for Disney. He said he hopes to bring some of the magic to Flushing. That’ll include artwork on the walls, children’s playrooms in the gate areas, and perks like TVs or other entertainment to improve the security-line experience.
That might even include jugglers, part of something Baklor calls the “LaGuardia fun squad.”
LaGuardia Gateway Partners has experimented with some of those additions, including jugglers, in the existing central terminal, which it will use as a testing ground for everything from entertainment to food-court seating. There, executives will install three types of chairs and watch which ones travelers like best.
It might seem minor, but those changes could add an important layer to the LaGuardia transformation. Now, if only that Disney magic could make the traffic and all the other delays disappear.
Randi F. Marshall
New York Republicans on Wednesday continued their effort to build a GOP resurgence in the state, a mission they have been charged with by the New Yorker who just left town for the White House.
GOP headquarters emailed members asking them to sign a petition calling on the state Board of Parole to deny the release of Judith Clark, the getaway driver in the infamous 1981 Brink’s armored car robbery that left two Nyack police officers and a security officer dead.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo commuted Clark’s 75-years-to-life sentence in December.
Clark’s association with the Weather Underground and Black Liberation Movement make her an easy target for Republican ire. The GOP’s call to block her parole included a statement from Diane O’Grady, whose police officer husband was killed in the robbery. “I find even the suggestion of her release an insult,” O’Grady wrote in a letter to Cuomo.
Is the state GOP taking a page out of the Willie Horton playbook? Horton, a Massachusetts felon who went on a crime spree while on furlough, helped tank Gov. Michael Dukakis’ presidential campaign in 1988 as Republicans sought to paint Dukakis as soft on crime.
A small world after all
Adding it all up
How do you know it’s an election year? Look at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s preliminary budget and capital plan.
The $84.67 billion proposed budget and $89.6 billion 10-year capital plan, both unveiled Tuesday, are full of pothole-filling fare: from new roofs for public housing to road repaving. There are funds for various constituencies and needs — bulletproof windows for police cars and hiring of school crossing guards — and the continuation of key initiatives like the mayor’s Vision Zero traffic-safety plan.
The funding estimates seek to avoid fights seen in earlier years, as with $303 million for the last phases of Water Tunnel No. 3, a crucial infrastructure project that last year briefly disappeared from the budget.
All in all, it is a keep-the-ship-steady proposal that doesn’t embrace any new big initiatives or even somewhat edgier progressive causes that candidate de Blasio might have supported, such as a reduced-fare MetroCard for low-income New Yorkers.
A smooth budget season would set the stage for a low-drama run-up to election season this fall. And de Blasio might need the reprieve, not just because his budget might take a hit given President Donald Trump’s threats on “sanctuary cities” for immigrants. Closer to home, de Blasio acknowledged at an unrelated news conference Wednesday that investigators from the Manhattan district attorney’s office have interviewed him and members of his team in the ongoing criminal investigation of his fundraising practices early in his first term.