It's the perfect classic movie airport - an art-deco streamlined terminal with a picture-perfect tower, complete with a rotating beam light. The floors on the second level are mosaic-tile masterpieces. and you must visit it for those and for the historic photo gallery, the restaurant and the open-air deck
The restaurant isn't noted for its food, but you could always grab a hamburger and fries and watch the planes land while you ate, or get a drink and take it out on the adjoining deck and sit at the forlorn lawn chairs and flimsy tables set out there. Since picking up Our Son at Long Beach has become a regular event, this was a ritual we regularly enjoyed. We would watch his plane come in, and try to see him descend the stairs onto the tarmac. Last time we went, though, just before Christmas, the restaurant was closed for remodeling.
This time it was open, and what a nice difference. It used to be all black and shiny surfaces, with mirrored tile columns. It looked kind of like an '80's disco. Now, there's sleek golden wood, with brushed steel fixtures matching the art-deco feel of the building. The bar, once crammed into a little alcove at the back of the room, is in front of the gracefully curved window, so you can sip your cocktail in streamlined elegance, and gaze out upon the runway.
They've added more tables and comfortable aluminum chairs to the deck, plus market umbrellas to shade from the sun. The railing has been strengthened with safety glass for security and for a little abatement from the noise of the jets.
Our Son's flight came in late, so we were there near sunset. We stopped by the bar and took our glasses of wine out on the deck.
With the sun going down it was purely evocative of a movie. The central tower rose above the deck, the planes moved like lazy animals on the field. We watched passengers disembark, watched flights taxi and take off. Little helicopters buzzed around (what are those little helicopters doing anyway?), and we sat side by side. It felt familiar. It reminded me of something....is that a piano playing in the background?
Rick: Last night we said a great many things. You said I was to do the thinking for both of us. Well, I've done a lot of it since then, and it all adds up to one thing: you're getting on that plane with Victor where you belong.
Ilsa: But, Richard, no, I... I...
Rick: I'm saying it because it's true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You're part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
Ilsa: But what about us?
Rick: We'll always have Paris. We didn't have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
Ilsa: When I said I'd never leave you.
Rick: And you never will. But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that. Now, now... Here's looking at you kid.
After reuniting with Our Son, we were all hungry, so on the way back home, we stopped off for something to eat.Restaurant photo from Yelp.
If you want to see more pictures of Long Beach Airport and its restaurant and history, go to the link above - I felt a little weird about taking photos at an airport!
And - the Hitchcockian silhouette in my photo above is none other than [The Man I Love]'s shadow against the wall.