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The Demolition of Terminal 6 at JFK is Happening NOW

Where: JFK International Airport [map], New York, NY, United States
October 18, 2011 at 11:37 AM | by | ()

While this last weekend was spent at New York's JFK Airport fondly remembering the glamor days of the jet age and seeking to further preserve them through the TWA Flight Center/Terminal 5, the complete opposite was going on next door.

The old "Sundrome" Terminal 6 designed by architect I.M. Pei is in the process of being completely demolished. Don't say we didn't warn you! The modernist building was constructed in the 1960s very much like the TWA Flight Center, but unlike the Center, it does not have a coveted spot on the National Register of Historic Places. BOOM goes the wrecking ball.

You may remember Terminal 6 from such airlines as National Airlines, the occasional TWA flight, and more recently, JetBlue. In 2008, JetBlue abandoned the terminal to move into their own fresh digs next door, in a brand-spanking new, Gensler-designed terminal snuggled behind the TWA Flight Center. We remember it well—check out our opening day coverage of that right here. Together they are the current Terminal 5, and a beautiful sight when you round the corner on the AirTrain after Terminals 3 and 4 (which, no matter what the Observer thinks, are still standing).

The Terminal 6 Sundrome is saying sayonara for several reasons. One, because no one uses it anymore. Two, because it costs $600,000 annual upkeep even though no one uses it anymore. Three, because that's prime airport space someone could be using more!

If you'd like to pay your respects, better do it quick. These photos were taken this last Sunday afternoon from the AirTrain, and already only the T6 roof and JetBlue check-in counter back wall are left; everything else is a pile of glass shards and "Skycap service this way" signs.

Now, on a personal note: Terminal 6 was my Ellis Island. I moved to New York City through this building, and as is typical of securing an apartment in this tumultuous city, I found myself often flying in for the day to check out prospective places before others could snatch them.

I could probably claim that my first true experience with being a frequent flyer—knowing which security line is always fastest, where the cleanest bathroom stall is, what self check-in kiosk is closest to the AirTrain elevator bank—happened here. I don't think I ever checked a bag or used a ticket counter at Terminal 6, but I can still picture the escalator I used most, and the view over to the construction shell of Terminal 5. Good times. Good times.

[Photo: Cynthia Drescher for Jaunted]

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