For the past few years, the Open House New York event provides public access to a number of private or closed venues around New York City. During last year’s event I visited the TWA Flight Center at JFK and this year I organized a New York City Frequent Flyer meetup at the venue. It’s not always easy getting to JFK but I think all the visitors who made it were glad that did.
From the parking lot it’s a very easy stroll into the Flight Center.
Alternatively if you come from JetBlue’s T5 terminal you can enter through the flight tube – which used to connect the checkin counters to the aircraft gates.
Once inside the architecture is amazing.
The building exhibits continuous curved surfaces that make this building unique. The ceilings curve down and become the walls, the walls curve down and become the floor. The departure board and information desk (pictured above) is one long curved surface from the table top curving up to the departure board itself.
“All the curves, all the spaces and elements right down to the shape of the signs, display boards, railings and check-in desks were to be of a matching nature. We wanted passengers passing through the building to experience a fully-designed environment, in which each part arises from another and everything belongs to the same formal world.”
— Eero Saarinen, 1959 from Architecture in the Twentieth Century by Gabriele Leuthäuser p250.
About a dozen people found us for the meetup. It’s always great to see new and old faces alike. Including one visitor who came up from D.C. to enjoy this iconic part of aviation.
As a tribute to the golden age of flying there was a couple dressed as a TWA pilot and stewardess.
There is still talk of the building being converted into a hotel but this was also said last year and nothing has transpired. It would be nice if this building was open more often, but we will have to see what happens. If you’re in New York next October, keep an eye out on the Open House New York website to see if this building will be open again.