If you have time to kill at New York's LaGuardia Airport, here are some unusual things you can do to pass an hour...or two...or three.
Turn your next delay into a mini-vacation with our weekly guide to transforming even the worst airport into your very own personal playground! This week, we're visiting New York's LaGuardia Airport; so close to the bright lights of Manhattan, but so very far away. No need to sulk the next time you’ve got some forced downtime at NYC's little airport that so often can't; not with our guide to what's fun (see Airfarewatchdog's daily list of low fares to and from New York-LaGuardia):
TAKE A HIKE! It's not every day you find an airport you can escape on foot – at least not without risking life and limb to run across various highways and boulevards. If you've got some time on your hands, get some exercise by walking along the footpath that leaves from the far end of the Delta terminal; it'll connect you to a paved promenade that runs along Flushing Bay, past the almost-charming World's Fair Marina and on over to the new home of the New York Mets, Citi Field. On the way back, stop at the promenade-adjacent Dunkin Donuts that's a favorite with limo drivers waiting on their airport pickups.
GRAB A BURGER There may be better burgers in New York – scratch that there are better burgers in New York, way better. But when you’re stuck at an airport, nothing says happy like a big old pile of freshly-cut potatoes fried in sizzling peanut oil, or a juicy hamburger topped with cheese, jalapenos, bacon and mushrooms. Or whatever it is you like on top of your Five Guys burger. This relatively-new franchise of the popular Northern Virginia chain is officially the best junk food you’ll find at the airport; it's located in the Central Terminal food court / shopping area, pre-security (thank goodness).
HOP OVER TO ASIA If you're seriously stuck, you shouldn't hang around the airport for too long – there's too much close by that’s worth seeing. Buy a Metrocard from the vending machines in the Central Terminal (or from the newsstands on arrivals levels of the other terminals) and look for the Q48 bus stop; in 20 minutes or less, you’ll be in the heart of downtown Flushing, known across the New York area as the most happening of the city's many Chinatowns. Asiatown is a more appropriate way to explain the bustling commercial district, a mix of cultures from across that part of the world, all amounting to a place that can be completely overwhelming even to long-time New Yorkers. Think Times Square, but with a lot less English spoken. And with better restaurants. Remember to allow for a half-hour of travel time on the return, just in case there's traffic.
LIKE A LOUNGE, BUT DIFFERENT There aren’t really any airline lounges at LaGuardia we'd bother to buy or beg our way into if we weren't already granted access with our tickets or frequent mileage programs; that said, when we are at the wrong end of a long wait at the airport, we always cross our fingers it's at the US Airways terminal. In that case, we usually scuttle off down to the shuttle gates (they’re to the right of security when you come in.) The waiting area around Gates 15-22, catering largely to a crowd that doesn't believe in showing up to the airport much earlier than their departure time, can often be a ghost town; bonus – lots of free magazines and newspapers to read while you wait.
HAVE A DRINK Fine dining and a decent wine list at an airport? It's not out of the question, and certainly not at LaGuardia, which has quite successfully hosted one of many Todd English restaurants, Figs, for quite some time – long enough for many people to even forget that it's there. Don't. Right in the heart of the Central Terminal, on the food court level – again, that's pre-security, so everyone can go, Figs is the savior of many a stranded passenger; some Tuscan white bean soup and a nice dry Italian red can make the most interminable wait just a little more bearable.