Great view of airports
August 10, 2007 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Where is the parking lot with the great view of the Newark Airport runway shown at the beginning of the final episode of the Sopranos? Any other great spots like that near any airports you know of (bonus points if they're in NJ/NY).

Remember that scene in Wayne's World where they're laying on the grass and planes take off right over their heads? No? Well I'm looking for awesome spots like that. Perhaps I've seen too many bad movies from the early 90's, but I think that would make a great spot to hang out.
posted by exhilaration to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by ootsocsid at 12:09 PM on August 10, 2007

Gravelly Point Park sits only 400 feet from the runway at Washington National Airport.

The most extreme example (scroll down to see the pictures) I can think of is at Maho Beach on the island of St Maarten.
posted by arco at 12:11 PM on August 10, 2007

No, this is not photoshopped.
posted by arco at 12:13 PM on August 10, 2007

I would do some searches on the forum. They use the airport codes, so EWR for Newark, LGA for Laguardia, and JFK for Kennedy.

Keep in mind that airport security will harass you if they notice.
posted by smackfu at 12:13 PM on August 10, 2007

Best spot in the world for viewing adrenalin, bar none, is the airport at St Maarten, Netherlands Antilles. Search YouTube for SXM. I'd say the aircraft viewing itself is well worth considering as part of a Caribbean vacation.

In the United States, I don't have any NY/NJ knowledge, sorry, and it's been decades since I've done any plane spotting so I don't really know.

Here in Texas, the best spot I'm aware of is Bachman Lake park (pic) on the approach to Dallas Love Field, but it's mostly 737 traffic. There's also an office park on the north side of Addison Airport that's pretty decent.

Historical aside: They used to have an absolutely awesome spot on the approach end of 18R at DFW Airport (northwest side). You could literally smell the jet fumes. It got shut down in the mid-1990s and replaced with a mediocre observation park. (sigh)
posted by rolypolyman at 12:22 PM on August 10, 2007

For JFK There is Baisley Pond park, when the jumbos land, you can actually time the wake (sounds like the crack of a whip) and the trees will sway a few seconds after the passage.


LGA has LaGuardia Landing Lights park (yep that's the name). Very small but really close up action.
posted by xetere at 12:30 PM on August 10, 2007

Just for fun, how about an aerial map of Gravelly Point?
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:38 PM on August 10, 2007

You can park at any number of businesses across the street from the end of Teterboro's runway. Of course, the aircraft are relatively small, so its not all that impressive.
posted by blaneyphoto at 12:42 PM on August 10, 2007

Don't fret, rolypolyman. An all-new $2+ million dollar observation park at the north end of DFW 18R-36L is being actively developed as we speak.
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 12:48 PM on August 10, 2007

Best answer: Unless I'm an idiot which is a distinct possibility the answer to the more specific question is likely to be the parking lot at the IKEA, etc shopping area in Elizabeth, NJ. It's got a huge parking lot and it's a fence away from the eastern runways of EWR. Here is a quickly found example; the parking lot is to the left of the photo.

I haven't seen the Sopranos episode referenced but I can't think of any other obvious spots that fit the description.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 1:05 PM on August 10, 2007

Seconding - we those people are fanatical.
posted by mdonley at 1:08 PM on August 10, 2007

Raleigh-Durham airport has an observation park.

I haven't seen the Sopranos episode, but here's Google Maps's aerial photo of Newark Airport. You could drag the map around and look for parking lots.
posted by Dec One at 2:07 PM on August 10, 2007

Best answer: Well, there aren't really any good spots for the NYC area, at least not where you can spend any length of time right up close without being hassled (especially at Newark; the Ikea parking lot across the NJ Turnpike is a great spot, but security will chase you away pretty quickly if they notice you.)

However, there are other places you can go, though typically further away. The site (I'm a member of the forums there) has "spotting maps" for JFK and La Guardia (but not Newark), with various locations depending on what runways are being used and whether you want to watch the planes coming in to land or taking off). I'd also look through some of the forums there, as people have other spots they sometimes use but are a crapshoot when it comes to police/security.
posted by Godbert at 2:23 PM on August 10, 2007

The "new" Air & Space/Udvar-Hazy center in northern Virginia has an observatory tower with a great view of Dullas (DWI). Not really a place to hang out with your friends and chit-chat, but a decent place to gawk at planes. (Ohh, Concorde! Oooh, SR-71! AHHH! SPACE SHUTTLE!)
posted by anaelith at 3:15 PM on August 10, 2007

If you ever visit Las Vegas, you can park off East Sunset Road and watch planes land from quite close.
posted by extrabox at 8:16 PM on August 10, 2007

You can try (Man, that brings back memories. I started what I think was the first plane-spotting guide on the Internet way back was subsumed by the linked site. And then there was the time we got thrown out of JFK for getting too close to the runway. Fun times!)
posted by greatgefilte at 11:54 PM on August 10, 2007

You can hang out in the woods, at the airport fence, in Duesseldorf, Germany. There are public foot/bike paths there, and a nearby train station. Not that you're close, but maybe someone is. I enjoyed listening to the vortex coming behind the planes.

Arco: That looks like fun. Difficult to believe the wake doesn't make trouble for the beach.
posted by Goofyy at 8:20 AM on August 11, 2007

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