Home>Feature>The O’Toole Chronicles: Newark Liberty Redefines Itself for the Future

The new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. (Photo: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey).

The O’Toole Chronicles: Newark Liberty Redefines Itself for the Future

By Kevin O'Toole, November 15 2022 12:01 am

The mayor of Newark said his city’s airport will be “the most modern and best equipped in the nation.” That Newark mayor was Thomas L. Raymond, and the year was 1928. Nearly 100 years later, his inspirational mandate is renewed.

Newark Liberty International Airport is being transformed for the 21st century. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Newark Liberty, as well as LaGuardia and JFK airports, has made the largest investment in the agency’s history in New Jersey. The result is a stunning, 1 million-square-foot, $2.7 billion new Terminal A connected to a new public parking/car rental facility, and the development of a plan to construct a new AirTrain Newark to replace the outdated existing AirTrain.

And this is just the beginning.

The new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. (Photo: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey).

A new world-class Terminal B will be designed and built, as the “Visioning Plan” for future development of Newark Liberty is developed in partnership with Arup, one of the world’s top aviation planning and design firms, and leading architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Future work at Newark Liberty will expand economic opportunities for the cities of Newark and Elizabeth, and for the State of New Jersey, with a continued emphasis to showcase Jersey-based businesses and restaurants inside the new terminals.

From its inception, Newark Airport was always unique – it was not an airport designed to be adjacent to a metropolitan region, but to be part of it.

The Port Authority is committed to building a world-class, 21st century Newark Liberty, but we are also committed to building more than physical terminals. We are committed to building cultural bridges with our communities. The new Terminal A is more than concrete and glass. It is people. It is Newark. It is Elizabeth. It is New Jersey.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the extraordinary works of art inside the new Terminal A. The new terminal will showcase the work of 29 artists – 27 of those artists are from New Jersey, with much of the art having a distinct sense of place, highlighting the cultural richness and diversity found in the cities of Newark and Elizabeth, as well as across this region.

The new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. (Photo: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey).

Public art challenges our senses, touches us, and opens windows that allow us to experience what is beyond the spaces we sit in or pass through quickly.

The Arrivals and Departures halls of the new Terminal A are dominated by two significant permanent works of art.

Karyn Olivier’s two sculptures – “Approach” – soar up 50 feet. The sculptures are a series of suspended rings covered with split-image photographs of New Jersey views – from rural to urban. Each piece offers a different perspective when viewed from the floor of the Arrivals Hall or from above. One sculpture depicts daytime, while the other night.

Layqa Nuna Yawar, a Newark resident, created a 350-foot mural that celebrates our regional culture, its history, and the people today who are shaping it for future generations. Entitled “Between the Future Past,” it is both a timestamp of the present with an acknowledgment of what has come before.

A third permanent sculpture by Talley Fisher, inspired by the ocean waters of New Jersey, is installed in the pedestrian bridge connecting the new Terminal A with the new public parking-consolidated car rental facility.

The Port Authority worked closely with its partner at Terminal A, Munich Airport NJ, and the Public Art Fund, and a specially created arts advisory council comprised of members of the New Jersey arts community led by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, to invite artists to submit proposals for public art at the new Terminal A.

In addition to the two permanent installations inside Terminal A, 27 works by local artists will be displayed digitally in the “welcome” banner in the Departures Hall, and in the future, rotating displays of local artists will be installed throughout the terminal.

The new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. (Photo: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey).

The Port Authority, again with its partner Munich Airport NJ, also has contracted with Moment Factory, which specializes in multi-media art installations, to install digital art installations at Terminal A.

The great aviator Amelia Earhart, who had a long history with Newark Airport and whose image can be found in Layqa Nuna Yawar’s expansive mural, said, “The most effective way to do it is to do it.”

The Port Authority is doing just that: Opening a stunning, 1-million-square foot new Terminal A enhanced with extraordinary public art, created overwhelmingly by local artists, and is connected to a new public-parking/consolidated car-rental facility; building a new AirTrain Newark, and planning for a new Terminal B as part of the development of a “Visioning Plan” for Newark Liberty that will expand economic opportunities to the communities around the airport.

Newark Municipal Airport, born in the early 20th century, defined modern aviation. Newark Liberty International Airport, reborn in the early 21st century, will do it again.

Kevin J. O’Toole is the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. (Photo: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey).

 

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