LaGuardia has a long and storied history. The airport site was first occupied by the Gala Amusement Park, a popular destination owned by the Steinway family. In 1929, the park was transformed into a 105-acre private flying field and first named Glenn H. Curtiss Airport after aviation pioneer Glenn H. Curtiss, and then re-named North Beach Airport.
In 1937, New York City took over the airport and enlarged the grounds with the purchase of adjoining land and by filling in 357 acres of waterfront along the east side. In 1939, it re-opened with a new name, New York Municipal Airport-LaGuardia Field. The airport was leased to the Port Authority in 1947.
Today, LaGuardia Airport is one of the busiest in the nation, handling more than 23 million passengers in 2008.