Lonely Planet Writer

Writers are creating personalized stories for travelers passing through LaGuardia

In the middle of the Marine Air Terminal at New York’s bustling LaGuardia Airport sits an unexpected site. Nestled in a small 110-foot kiosk with wood-panelled walls, amidst stacks of paper lit by desk lamps are two writers, busily working away on stories. There as part of the 2018 Artport Residency Program created by the Queens Council on the Arts, for the next month, Gideon Jacobs and Lexie Smith are writers-in-residence in the unique setting, creating customized stories and poems for people passing through.

Gideon Jacobs and Lexie Smith at the Landing Pages kiosk at LaGuardia Airport.
Gideon Jacobs and Lexie Smith at the Landing Pages kiosk at LaGuardia Airport. Image by Paasha Motamedi

Called Landing Pages, the project is running until 30 June, and aims to allow artists to create new and original work while also interacting with the thousands of visitors that pass through the airport on a daily basis, in an effort to bring engaging and cultural experiences to the space. Passers-by can visit the kiosk to meet Gideon and Lexi, leaving their flight number along with a phone number or email address. Once their plane is airborne, the writers have the duration of the flight to complete the pieces, which are then made available to participants at their destination. The stories can take many forms – prose, poetry, illustration, and more, but all the stories will arrive on the passenger’s phone when their flights touch down. Passengers that aren’t comfortable handing out their contact information can find their story at the Landing Pages website, which also serves a public archive for all of the pieces written.

Customers can fill in a form to receive a customized story upon landing. Image by Paasha Motamedi

“Landing Pages was partially inspired by our shared interest in pushing how, when, and where writing can happen. ‘Writing’ is an incredibly broad and flexible thing, and yet, 99% of it is made in private, labelled as either fiction or non-fiction, and then printed in a book or published on a screen. We wanted to try to stretch what writing can be a little,” Gideon Jacobs told Lonely Planet Travel News.

The kiosk is open to visitors until June. Image by Paasha Motamedi

The Landing Pages kiosk also serves as a workshop for Jacobs and Smith, and has already proven to be a popular sight with visitors. “For the most part, people seem pleasantly surprised by the appearance of a cosy little writing studio in the middle of an airport terminal. Traveling isn’t always easy, so I think to encounter a project like this is a nice break from the expected,” Gideon said.

More information on Landing Pages, including the stories themselves, is available at the official website.

Opening times will be kept updated on the Landing Pages hub at the Queens Council on Arts website.