Photo Essay: The TWA Hotel at JFK, A Memorable Midcentury Time Capsule

The TWA Hotel's 1958 Lockheed Constellation serves as the Connie cocktail lounge.

By Jonathan Spira on 16 May 2019
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The iconic TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport was reborn as the TWA Hotel on Wednesday when it opened its doors to guests.

The 1962 TWA Flight Center, designed by Eero Saarinen, was declared a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1994, and the hotel is a faithful restoration of the Finnish architect’s masterpiece.

“The memories of working here decades ago flooded my mind,” said, FBT Aviation Consultant Thomas Keppler, a former TWA captain, standing under its swooping shell.

The Flight Center’s “tubes,” which were featured in the movie “Catch Me If You Can,” connect the terminal to the guest rooms. “I think of the tens of thousands of travelers going to Europe, crossing the ocean for the first time in the days of stewardesses with white gloves and when passengers dressed for the occasion,” Keppler said.

The Flight Center serves as the reception area as well as the location for the restaurants and bars and travelers can access Terminal 5, the terminal that replaced the TWA Flight Center, through one of the tubes that originally took TWA passengers to their gates.

The hotel, housed in a newly-constructed building, offers 512 rooms as well as six restaurants including the Paris Café, operated by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. It also has eight bars, all with a 1960s feel, including the hotel’s cocktail lounge, which is housed in a 1958 Lockheed Constellation fuselage painted in a TWA livery.

Here is a look at the TWA Hotel in its pictorial splendor.

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Click here to continue to Page 2The Tubes and the Hotel’s 1958 Lockheed Constellation

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