Sunday, October 16, 2011

TWA at JFK

One of the best things about living in Forest Hills is its proximity to the major NYC airports. Since I have to travel fairly often for work, when I moved to Forest Hills I was thrilled to discover that I could get to LaGuardia in about 5 minutes and JFK in about 20 or so on a good day. What a luxury -- especially after having lived in SoHo in Manhattan, where it could take like an eternity to get to the airports!

I've always loved going to the airport, something I just kind of picked up when I was a kid. It was such a thrill to go to Kennedy. for instance, which I associated with a feeling of international excitement that was so missing from the sleepy Long Island town where I was living. And, of course, I also always associated my trips there with either going away on a vacation or having my grandmother or other family members or friends come to visit.

So when I heard that Open House NY was opening the landmarked TWA terminal at JFK for a few hours to the public this Sunday, I jumped at the chance to once again visit this famous, wing-shaped building that I knew so well from my childhood. After all, in recent years, I've only recently gotten a chance to see the inside of it in some movies, like Catch Me If You Can, for instance.

The terminal, which is now a historical landmark, was designed by Eero Saarinen and opened in May 1962. It was used until 2001, when American Airlines bought out TWA. Since then it has only really been in use for occasional special events -- such as parties and movie shoots. But it could possibly reopen as a boutique hotel in the near future.

Whatever happens to it, its landmark status prevents it from being demolished or altered in any significant way.

Here are some photos and a short video I shot at today's event. Hopefully it will bring back some memories for some of you. I myself can still see, like it was yesterday, my grandmother waving goodbye as she entered the famous red-carpeted tunnel to catch her next flight.












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8 comments:

  1. What would you like to see as the usage for this terminal?

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  2. Good question...

    Firstly, I would like to see it open again to the public so everyone can enjoy this amazingly innovative and unique building! It is located right in front of the new Jet Blue terminal (which is a great new building in its own right, especially the concourse part with all of the restaurants once you get past security -- but architecturally of course doesn't compare to this TWA terminal).

    So because of its location, its usage is limited. It will never be its own terminal again -- its famous tunnels/tubes now link to the Jet Blue terminal behind it.

    I think a boutique hotel is a good idea for it - it would make light use of it that would not damage it in any way and it actually makes sense. It would be a great option for people staying at the airport just over night for whatever reason (for example, those who have to catch a very early flight in the morning and want quick, stress-free access to the airport.)

    And, as a hotel it could then also house a couple of restaurants that would then be open to the public for either a unique, memorable dinner, events and/or parties.

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  3. How many square feet is the terminal?

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  4. No not the Jetblue terminal.

    Just the OLD remaining TWA Terminal piece. Can't be 60,000.

    It seems quite small in size. And it doesn't look like it could be used for much.

    I don't see how one can retrofit it with hotel rooms. The space is very reminicient of a Grand Central Terminal type space.

    In Grand Central Terminal they built a huge Apple store. Not saying it should happen here though.

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  5. I think you are right. I could have sworn they said yesterday it was like 20,000 square feet but I saw differently in one of the articles below. Now I read it more closely and the 60,000 square foot is actually space BETWEEN the two terminals - the old one and the new Jet Blue one. Here's some more articles about it:

    http://www.timessquare.com/NYC__/NYC_Stories/TWA_Terminal_Boutique_Hotel_at_JFK?_Not_so_Fast/

    http://www.jaunted.com/story/2011/2/7/10170/54422/travel/A+Hotel+for+JFK's+Iconic+TWA+Terminal+Would+Be+Great,+but+Likely+Won't+Happen

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  6. Its just dead space in all honesty. It was designed as an old airplane terminal as we know with some waiting areas and stuff.

    I guess it could be turned into a museum and filled with items for viewing like aviation artwork or something of that kind.

    Im not sure if a Hotel is possible.

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