Austin J. Tobin Plaza

Austin J. Tobin Plaza 1995.
Austin J. Tobin Plaza 1995.

Austin Joseph Tobin (May 25, 1903 – February 8, 1978) served as the executive director of the Port of New York Authority, the precursor to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, from 1942 until 1972.

He was born on May 25, 1903 to an Irish-American family in Brooklyn, New York City. He was educated at the College of the Holy Cross and Fordham Law School.

He joined the Port Authority in 1927, where he served the first 15 years of his career in the law department. He started out as a law clerk, and was promoted to assistant general counsel in 1935. In 1942, he was appointed as executive director of the Port Authority. During his thirty years in the post, the Port Authority gained control of LaGuardia Airport, Idlewild (later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport), and Newark Airport. He oversaw the development of the World Trade Center, and the creation of the Lincoln Tunnel, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

In 1966, Tobin received The Hundred Year Association of New York’s Gold Medal Award “in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York.”

He died on February 8, 1978 in Manhattan, New York City.


After Tobin died in 1978, the Port Authority named the outdoor plaza at the World Trade Center, in his honor, as the Austin J. Tobin Plaza. The plaza was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.