October 20, 2011

Photo Essay: Saarinen's TWA Terminal, JFK - Exterior

I've been a dedicated attendee of Open House New York ever since its inception in 2003, so much so that I named it the sole reason I would return to NYC after nine months away.

A year or two ago, I emailed the OHNY organizers to request a future site: the old TWA terminal at JFK, designed by architect and industrial Eero Saarinen, as well-known for the "tulip chair" as for the St. Louis Gateway Arch.

This year, upon my return to NYC, my request was granted.

When I asked for access to the Trans World Flight Center, I knew it had fallen into disrepair, and plans to incorporate it into the new JetBlue Terminal 5 had been aborted. A visit would be true urban exploration. But by the time I got to it, it had been partially restored, all three red letters on the outside now lit at night.

These are photos from the flight center's exterior. Interior shots to follow.

I flew in and out of T5 so many times last year, criss-crossing the country to set the stage for my future move to LA. The sight of the gull-winged building was as much a beacon of home as a sendoff to my new home.

So upon my return to New York City, it was more than well-worth an extra trip back to JFK - after flying in on a redeye Friday morning and flying out Monday afternoon - to finally get access to it.

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