Simple Flying - Justin Hayward & Sumit Singh
The Big Apple needs all the capacity it can get!
Numerous large cities have several airports. This can complicate travel and connections, but there is usually a reason why they exist - and continue to do so. New York has three main commercial airports - Newark-Liberty (EWR), LaGuardia (LGA), and John F. Kennedy International (JFK). These all opened at different times and for different purposes and continue to serve distinct roles today.
New York's story is partly historical and partly functional. LaGuardia opened in 1929. At this time, it was a private airfield built at the site of a former amusement park close to the city.
It became a commercial airport in 1939, with its location close to the city cited as a prime reason at the time. This remains the case today.
Newark Liberty International Airport opened (as Newark Metropolitan Airport) in 1928. It was built to be the first airport serving New York and was the busiest commercial airport in the world in the pre-war years.
JFK opened in 1948 (as New York International Airport). It came about as air traffic expanded and the other airports (particularly LaGuardia) were at capacity. This growth story is typical in most cities with multiple airports.