THOUSANDS OF FANS (TWA ALUMS! THE GOVERNOR!) ATTEND THE OPENING OF THE TWA HOTEL AT JFK AIRPORT
Up up and away at last! JFK’s only on-airport hotel opens its 512 soundproof guestrooms, restaurants and retail outlets with a ribbon cutting celebration led by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
May 17, 2019: A sight for soaring eyes: The TWA Hotel opened today at JFK Airport, where thousands of guests watched New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Tyler Morse, CEO and Managing Partner of MCR and MORSE Development, cut the ribbon in the iconic Sunken Lounge.
Celebrating the careful restoration of Eero Saarinen’s landmark 1962 former Trans World Airlines terminal — which now serves as the heart of the 512-room hotel — visitors were surprised by a flash mob bopping to period tunes. Excited TWA alums came out in droves, proudly wearing their lovingly preserved uniforms, reuniting with friends and sharing memories. Speakers also included Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Peter Ward, President of the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO; Robin Hayes, CEO, JetBlue; and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
When the TWA terminal opened in 1962, it epitomized the glamour and optimism of the Jet Age. The structure was designated a New York City landmark in 1994 and, after its 2001 closure, was listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places in 2005.
Restoring the beloved building (a project led by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners), constructing two brand new hotel wings behind it (designed by LUBRANO CIAVARRA Architects with interior design by Stonehill Taylor) and building a 50,000-square-foot events center (by INC Architecture & Design) was a massive endeavor. The project involved 22 government agencies and more than 170 firms. Turner Construction Company began work in the fall of 2016, with roughly 450 union tradespeople on site every day. In addition, dining, retail and amenity partners helped give the space new life.
“Eero Saarinen’s cathedral to aviation has always looked toward the future,” says Tyler Morse, CEO and Managing Partner of MCR and MORSE Development. “We restored and reimagined his landmark with the same care that he devoted to his design. No detail went overlooked — from the millwork by Amish artisans to the custom font inspired by Saarinen’s own sketches to the one-of-a-kind manhole covers. Starting today, the world can enjoy this midcentury marvel for many years to come.”
The TWA Hotel, JFK Airport’s only on-airport hotel, features:
· The Paris Café by Jean-Georges, a 200-seat restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from an open kitchen in collaboration with Tastes on the Fly
· The Sunken Lounge, a cocktail bar operated by Gerber Group and located in the historic chili pepper red-carpeted lounge
· A Lockheed Constellation “Connie” L-1649A transformed into a cocktail lounge operated by Gerber Group
· Departures Hall grab-and-go dining operated by Fooda, including restaurants such as Antico Noè, Empanada Republic, Fresh&Co, The Halal Guys and Playa Bowls
· An Intelligentsia coffeebar and coffee carts throughout the hotel grounds
· 50,000 square feet of event space, including a 15,000-square-foot ballroom
· A rooftop infinity pool and observation deck with views of runway 4 Left/22 Right plus The Pool Bar operated by Gerber Group, serving cocktails and meals
· The world’s biggest hotel gym: a 10,000-square-foot fitness center operated by The Wright Fit
· Authentic split-flap boards manufactured by Solari di Udine
· Iconic flight tubes featured in Catch Me If You Can that connect to JetBlue’s Terminal 5
· A Shinola custom watch bar and leather goods store
· A Warby Parker Pencil Room, where visitors can use pencils emblazoned with pithy one-liners (available by donation with proceeds benefiting the nonprofit VisionSpring) to fill out custom postcards (check out the connect-the-dots illustration of the TWA Hotel)
· A Phaidon + Herman Miller Reading Room, where guests are invited to relax on midcentury modern furniture by Herman Miller while browsing Phaidon books
· The TWA Shop, selling apparel and gear honoring Trans World Airlines’ legacy
· Museum exhibitions on TWA, the Jet Age and midcentury modern design curated by the New-York Historical Society
· BLADE helicopter service to Manhattan