For decades, New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport has stood as one of the world’s largest aviation hubs, servicing some 50 million passengers a year. But modern times have seen it fall behind pioneering airports in places like Singapore and Zurich, which have begun adding facilities (like cinemas for filling longer layovers, spas, nap rooms, and hotels worthy of any city center) to better service their travelers—facilities JFK has been seriously lacking. No longer.
The team from MCR Development (also behind Manhattan’s High Line Hotel, another storybook reclamation project), alongside government officials, held a groundbreaking ceremony last month at JFK’s long-abandoned TWA Flight Center for the airport’s first high-end hotel—and it looks like it's going to be a doozy.
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The iconic terminal—a futuristic, bird-like structure with outstretched wings and just-as-impressive sleek interiors, commissioned in 1962 by eccentric entrepreneur Howard Hughes and designed by famed Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen—stood empty for years but remained untouched thanks to a New York City Landmark designation in 1994. The projected $265 million construction project will restore the building to its former glory and add a 505-room wing, designed as an ode to the golden age of air travel.
While details on design specifics are still relatively unknown, we do know what else is in the works: a 10,000-square-foot observation deck where guests can watch the tireless dance of aircrafts arriving and departing, a bevy of dining options including a resurrected Ambassador’s Club, and a museum dedicated to New York’s role in the glamorous Jet Age of the 1960s (including exhibits dedicated to mid-century modern design, natch).
Scheduled to open in fall 2018, the TWA Flight Center Hotel has positioned itself to usher in a new era for airport hotel design and JFK as a whole. We’re crossing our fingers it lives up to the hype.