The Apple of His Eye: Dominic DaSilva’s LaGuardia Airport Legacy

LaGuardia’s famous “Apple Fence”
LaGuardia’s famous “Apple Fence”

The iconic Apple Fence that amused passengers at LaGuardia Airport’s old Central Terminal Building for almost 30 years was a labor of love for Dominick DaSilva – not just once, but twice.

As a recent college graduate in 1992, DaSilva was responsible for building and installing the fence as a Port Authority public art project. Nearly three decades years later while working for the contractor building a new Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport, he had the job of saving it.

Dominick DaSilva, Skanska Artist/Asst. Project Manager
Dominick DaSilva, Skanska Artist/Asst. Project Manager

The Apple Fence, originally measuring 3,000 linear feet – or the length of 30 football fields – is in fact the only piece of the old Central Terminal Building that will be preserved and used in a new, and as of yet, undetermined public role. About 2,000 linear feet of the fence has been preserved and will be stored at a Port Authority facility at JFK until new installations for the fence can be determined.

The opening of the new Terminal B Arrivals and Departures Hall on June 13 clears the way for demolition of the Central Terminal Building, which is currently underway and should be complete early next year.

DaSilva, an Assistant Project Manager at Skanska who has been working on the new Terminal B, reflected on his role in both building and installing the Apple Fence and dismantling it for its preservation and reuse in the future at another site or facility.

“The Apple Fence at LaGuardia Airport was the first big project I worked on after graduating from college. In 1992, working with the designer, David Saunders, we manufactured and installed about 3,000 linear feet of steel and it became the talk of the town,” DaSilva recalled.

“The fence was all over the news and you could see why — it was beautiful. The reaction of the passengers flying through LaGuardia was amazing,” he said. Saunders, a New York artist, won a competition that was part of the Port Authority’s public arts program.

“As a 20-something, I would never have imagined I’d find myself working with Skanska 28 years later on that fence, my baby,” DaSilva said. “I’ve flown through the airport countless times and told anyone I could: ‘There it is, I did that, I built that.’ To work on the iconic Apple Fence, not once, but twice, is a tremendous honor.


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