New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia pushed for Floyd Bennett to replace Newark Airport in Newark, New Jersey as the city's main air terminal. He was only able to persuade American Airlines to move its Newark operations to the new airport, and many passengers complained that Floyd Bennett was farther from Manhattan than Newark was. To keep the airport competitive, LaGuardia ordered the New York Police Department to escort limousines from the airport to the city at high speeds.
Later, the pilot program at Floyd Bennett was abandoned in favor of a new airport in Queens, which took advantage of the then-new Queens-Midtown Tunnel to Manhattan. This airport was quickly renamed LaGuardia Airport in recognition of the mayor's efforts to undercut Newark.
During World War II, the facility was used by the U.S. military's airlift network.