It is a widely held belief that in 1990, the tennis-loving mayor urged the FAA to create a new takeoff procedure out of LaGuardia so that planes wouldn't fly over the USTA while he was trying to watch his beloved U.S. Open matches.
Originally, the flight path, which flies over Flushing and then several other NE Queens neighborhoods, was supposed to be used only during the U.S. Open and only at the request of the city.
But a few years ago, the FAA decided to make the temporary flight path a routine part of airport operations, and ever since it has been causing sleepless nights and noisy days for Queens residents who once lived for the most part harmoniously with the airport.
And those same Queens residents have, at least in part, blamed Dinkin's for putting in motion the cuase of their woe.
But last week, LaGuardia Community College and the Wagner Archives, which is an effort to collect and preserve materials – most notably old television and audio clips – documenting the history of New York City, last week released a brief audio clip from a 2013 dinner honoring former Queens borough president Claire Shulman.
The Wagner Archives described the recording as “spotlighting a piece of the history of the U.S. Open” in Queens. In the clip, Judge Nicholas Garaufis, who was once an aide to Shulman, recalls how she urged him to contact his “friends” in the FAA and get them to reroute the airplanes to keep the USTA from leaving Queens when the group's lease expired in 1994.
Garaufis recalls that the FAA agreed to do it, but only if the mayor was on board.
“It turned out that the new mayor agreed with it, and we knew that he would because he was an avid tennis fan,” the judge told the crowd.
So it turns out it was Dinkins' idea all along, it was instead Shulman who first put the wheels in motion to create the now-infamuous TNNIS climb out of LaGuardia.
Thanks for the “Clare”-ification Wagner Archives.