The truth is that the airport's operator knows that the facility is bad and is close to getting a multibillion-dollar renovation plan off the ground.
"Significant investment in transportation infrastructure is the key to growing our economy and creating jobs, which is why the Port Authority [of New York & New Jersey] this week proposed a 10-year, $27 billion capital plan that creates more than 126,000 jobs and invests $8 billion in modernizing the region's airports," the agency said in a statement sent to CNBC late Thursday.
"We are fast-tracking efforts that have lagged for more than a decade and investing $3.6 billion through an innovative public-private partnership to build a new Central Terminal Building at LaGuardia Airport that will provide passengers with a world-class terminal," the statement said.
The agency is seeking public comment on the plan through Feb. 14. LaGuardia's $3.6 billion project is scheduled to be finished in the third quarter of 2021.
(Read more: Airport upgrades: Changing rooms, outdoor plazas)
LaGuardia wasn't always so bad. Built in 1939 on the site of the old Gala Amusement Park, the airport has been operated by the Port Authority since 1947. Its Marine Air Terminal, which once offered airport-to-Manhattan river ferry service, is still home to the WPA-era landmarked mural "Flight," by James Brooks.
The Port Authority's airports, which also include Kennedy and Newark international airports, handled a record 111.6 million passengers last year, topping the previous mark set in 2007 by more than 1.5 million.