Photos Courtesy of Kevin Coughlin/Office
of the Governor
By Michael V. Cusenza
Amid much pomp and splendor last Wednesday, the historic TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport officially opened its doors.
As a beaming Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted, the project transforms the former Trans World Airlines terminal, which was designed by world-renowned architect Eero Saarinen in 1962 and closed to the public 18 years ago, into the centerpiece of a modern 512-room hotel that will preserve its mid-century design and offer lodging and best-in-class services to millions of travelers each year.
The new, $265 million hotel is part of the State’s $13 billion vision plan to transform the airport into a 21st century facility.
“The TWA building was ahead of its time, and it represented New York’s vision and creativity and boldness and outside-the-box thinking. New York has always been the state that led the nation in firsts, in reforms, in turnarounds and in troubled times. When the nation needed to find a direction forward, you could always look at New York and New York pointed the way forward,” the governor gushed. “This rebirth of the TWA Hotel says we haven’t lost our imagination, our boldness, our creativity, our daring—and we are still one step ahead of everyone else. If you want to know where the future’s going to lead, look to the State of New York. The best is yet to be, and the TWA Hotel is a beautiful example.”
The TWA project, according to the administration, was achieved through a public-private partnership on a 6-acre site in the center of the airport. The hotel’s guestrooms feature views of airport runways and the historic TWA terminal, 50,000 square-feet of event space, a 10,000 square-foot observation deck and pool, and a 10,000 square-foot fitness facility for guests. The project has also restored the terminal’s most iconic spaces, which will now include dining options such as Paris Café by Jean-Georges and the Ambassador’s Club, as well as a Lockheed Constellation L1649A Aircraft—one of four remaining in the world—that will now house a cocktail bar. The space also includes museum exhibitions devoted to the New York Jet Age, the defunct airline’s history, and the mid-century modern design movement.
“The opening of the TWA Hotel is a huge step in the JFK redevelopment project. I applaud Gov. Cuomo for making this a reality,” said Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Howard Beach). “The opening of this hotel is just one step of many within the redevelopment where residents, businesses, and communities are able to benefit.”
However, good luck landing a reservation at TWA at JFK. All 512 rooms are sold out through June.