This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org. It is my husband’s birthday weekend, and we are standing, awe-struck, in the retro-themed TWA Hotel at JFK Airport in New York City. Designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in 1962, the landmark former TWA flight center, lauded by the American Institute of Architects as one of the grandest examples of mid-20th-century modern architecture, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
With a soaring roofline, it serves as the spacious lobby of this amazing amalgam of hotel and museum, with multiple exhibits, curated by the New-York Historical Society, serving as a grand tribute to the era known as “The Golden Age of Flying.” When Trans World Airlines closed in 2001, the TWA terminal did, as well. After being empty for years, in spite of its architectural pedigree and as all things midcentury modern enjoyed a new vogue, the terminal reopened to the public in May 2019 as the showpiece of the new hotel. We check in with a pleasant reservation clerk, and chat with her about all our possible adventures. We gape at the classic Solari split-flap departure board with authentic original mechanical operation, manufactured in Italy.
The sunken lounge in the old TWA terminal. Note the departure board.