Travel

A Gleaming Makeover for Newark’s Terminal A

Good morning. It’s Thursday. We’ll take a look at the new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. The $2.7 billion project is scheduled to open today. We’ll also look at Mayor Eric Adams’s proposed funding cuts for public libraries. Library officials and readers are sounding the alarm.

Credit…Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

If everything goes as scheduled — and that might be a big if, after the computer failure yesterday that grounded flights nationwide — Newark Liberty International Airport’s spacious new Terminal A will be open by the time you read this. Two American Airlines jets were scheduled to depart for Miami and Dallas at 5 a.m., and a United Airlines redeye from Southern California was due at one of the brand-new gates.

I asked Patrick McGeehan, who writes about transportation and infrastructure in the New York area, to tell us what we’ll see if we book a flight that goes through Terminal A. Here’s what he said:

The new terminal, completed many months behind schedule, cost $2.7 billion and replaced one that opened when Richard Nixon was president. It is an extreme upgrade from the dreary old Terminal A. For more than a year, the lack of adequate facilities in that terminal has been addressed with portable toilets in the corridors.

Among the many travelers who will not miss it is Jack McCallum, an author who writes about sports. “I’m absolutely certain there are worse places on earth than Terminal A at Newark Airport,” he tweeted last week. “I just haven’t been at any of them recently.”

The Port Authority planned the new Terminal A as the first step toward making Newark Liberty a “world-class gateway,” but the project did not go smoothly. The pandemic disrupted the supply of some critical components, project officials said. So did the war in Ukraine, because workers in the Ukrainian glassworks who were making the new terminal’s glass walls were called away to fight.

Then, after a ceremonial unveiling in November by Gov. Philip Murphy of New Jersey, the opening was delayed again because the terminal’s fire alarm and security systems had not passed final tests, said Thomas Pietrykoski, a spokesman for the Port Authority. After that false start, airlines expressed concerns about moving in during the busy year-end holiday travel period, so the opening was pushed to January, he said.

Despite all that, Port Authority officials plan to gather in the terminal this morning. The agency’s chairman, Kevin O’Toole, and its executive director, Rick Cotton, will celebrate with Lutz Weisser, the managing director of Munich Airports International, the company that will operate the terminal.

The Port Authority is in the midst of a $25 billion campaign to revitalize the three major airports that serve New York City. The $8 billion overhaul of La Guardia Airport, including two new terminals, is nearly finished. At Kennedy International Airport, work has begun on several projects, including a $9.5 billion Terminal One that would be more than twice the size of the new Newark terminal.

The Port Authority now plans to draw up a vision for modernizing the rest of Newark Liberty. Next to be replaced will be Terminal B, which also opened in 1973, long before travelers needed to pass through security checkpoints or carried smartphones they need to charge.

For all the celebration, Terminal A won’t be fully open today. It was built with 33 gates for five airlines. For now, only 21 gates are ready for arrivals and departures by four carriers — Air Canada, American, JetBlue and United. Delta Air Lines will move in and begin using the other 12 gates in about a year, Pietrykoski said. Eventually there will be a new AirTrain, too.


Weather

Prepare for rain throughout the day, with wind gusts and temperatures steady near the mid-50s. In the evening, expect rain, thunderstorms and wind gusts.

ALTERNATE-SIDE PARKING

In effect until Monday (Martin Luther King’s Birthday).


The latest Metro news

Credit…Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times

Representative George Santos

  • Calls for his resignation: The repudiation of George Santos by Republican leaders in Nassau County, where much of his district is, was the sharpest statement so far from Santos’s own party.

  • The résumé: Two years before his successful run for Congress, George Santos gave Long Island Republican officials a résumé that reads like a detailed road map of his lies.

  • Read Santos’s résumé: A copy of a two-page version of his résumé, obtained by The Times, is the first that has become public.

Politics

  • Pro bono law firm: Two former prosecutors who led the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into Donald Trump’s business practices are opening a pro bono law firm with the former head of the union representing professional basketball players. They will work to fight threats to democracy.

  • Nominee for the state’s top judge: Gov. Kathy Hochul has not given up on her nomination of Hector LaSalle to be chief judge of the Court of Appeals, but a Legislature controlled by her own party could stand in her way.

More local news

  • Nurses’ strike continues: With nurses on picket lines outside Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Medical Center, conditions inside were more tumultuous than usual.

  • Yeshiva University funding: A group of high-ranking state lawmakers said it appeared that Yeshiva University might have misrepresented itself as a secular institution at least twice in order to qualify for $230 million in public funds.


Adams under fire for proposing library cuts

Credit…Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Mayor Eric Adams is under fire for proposing cutting funding for public libraries, a lifeline for people who do not have internet access at home or who need after-school tutoring or English-language classes. The City Council wants to protect funding for libraries. Adams is scheduled to release his preliminary budget today, and then the budget battles will begin. I asked Emma Fitzsimmons, our City Hall bureau chief, to explain why the mayor made libraries a target for cuts.

How deep are the cuts proposed by the mayor? Why does he consider them necessary?

The cuts for this year would be about $13 million, or 3 percent of the city budget for libraries. The cuts next year could be much higher, at $20 million. The mayor has argued that he needs to make cuts across city agencies because the city is facing billion-dollar deficits in the years ahead. Library leaders say these cuts could be devastating for their operations and programming.

What would the cuts mean for people who use libraries — shorter hours? Would libraries be closed on Saturdays? What about programs for children?

Library leaders are trying to determine whether they should cut hours, workers or programming. They could decide on shorter hours or closings on Saturdays. The library system offers all sorts of programs, from toddler story times to after-school tutoring and English classes, and those could be cut.

Adrienne Adams, the City Council speaker, told you that “the Council has a different vision for our city” and would fight the cuts. How much support does she have? Can the Council block the cuts?

She has a lot of support in the City Council. Many members have grown frustrated with the mayor’s budget cuts, especially when the city is increasing overtime pay for police officers patrolling the subway. The mayor made cuts last year to some schools with lower enrollment, and now some Council members seem determined to prevent him from making major cuts to really important programs like libraries and preschool for 3-year-olds. On Thursday, he is expected to release his preliminary budget for the fiscal year that starts in July, and he must negotiate with the City Council. They must announce a budget deal by the end of June.

Why do you think the library cuts are striking a nerve with New Yorkers?

So many people love “their” library — the branch near where they live. They view it as a critical piece of the city’s infrastructure, just like the subway or schools. My son is in kindergarten, and he’s learning how to read. He’s constantly asking us to take him on a bike ride to the library on Saturdays to get more books. I loved taking him there for toddler story times when he was younger, and we were sad when they stopped having them during the height of the pandemic.


METROPOLITAN diary

Art appreciation

Dear Diary:

In the 1990s, I commuted into Grand Central and then took the Times Square shuttle across town to catch the 1, 2 or 3 train down to Penn Station for work.

I typically got off near the 34th Street entrance to the Long Island Rail Road, where a Maya Lin sculpture was fixed to the ceiling. I always admired it and was sorry that my fellow commuters were so busy rushing that they rarely looked up to see it.

One day, as I approached the spot where the sculpture hung, I was happy to see two young mothers gazing up at it with their strollers close by. As I passed, I overheard one of them speak to the other.

“Yes,” she said, “and it’s by Maya Angelou.”

— Rhonda Magid

Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Send submissions here and read more Metropolitan Diary here.


Glad we could get together here. See you tomorrow. — J.B.

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword and Spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.

Melissa Guerrero, Steven Moity and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at [email protected]

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