The annual Open House New York happened to be a couple Sundays ago (10/16). Usually I only find a a handful of events that I’m interested in and usually they require a reservation, which I’m always too late for.
This year there was one event I was interested in that didn’t require a reservation: The TWA Flight Center Open House at JFK Airport.
This building has been closed since 2001, when American bought the struggling TWA. Much of the complex (concourses and gates) was torn down to make room for the new JetBlue Terminal 5, which now sits behind the historic building, also known as the Eero Saarinen Head House.
Unlike all other classic JFK terminals such as the Pan Am Worldport and the National Airlines Sundrome, this building has landmark status and will stick around. But there currently isn’t a clear plan on what to do with it. The building’s famous passenger tubes now connect (in an awkward way) to the the JetBlue terminal’s arrival area. Occasionally it is mentioned that this terminal could be used as an optional check-in facility for JetBlue, but that plan seems to have gone nowhere in the three years the new Terminal 5 has been open. Interestingly enough, there are two out-of-service self-check-in machines sitting in the historic building’s lobby.
The other plan the has been surfacing as of late is to construct a hotel behind the building. I am no architect, but I fail to see how this would work without destroying the already limited view out of the back of the terminal. I would love to see the building used as an aviation museum, however, the location isn’t exactly the most accessible in the city.
TWA Flight Center Open House NYC – 10/16/2011, a set on Flickr.