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A Hotel for JFK's Iconic TWA Terminal Would Be Great, but Likely Won't Happen

February 7, 2011 at 11:37 AM | by | Comments (0)

What's the big news on the airport front this morning? Oh, just that New York-JFK could be getting a new hotel...inside of the old, landmark-protected TWA Terminal 5. The building, designed by Eero Saarinen and opened in 1962, is an architectural and design gem of the Mad Men-era, one that has outlasted (and outshined) other similar fancy airport buildings (ah hem Pan Am Worldport).

Anyways, the TWA Flight Center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and thus has been able to escape the wrecking ball. JetBlue even went and built their giant, shiny T5 at JFK behind it, but left enough buffer space between the two buildings for contractors to envision a hotel. There's no takers on the project just yet, which would ideally be a high-end, boutique hotel set just behind the Terminal, utilizing the iconic original structure as a sort of juiced-up hotel lobby, and we don't think there ever will be. Here's why:

First off, let us just say that were a hotel to pop up as they want it to, and assuming it compliments the structures already there, we'd welcome it with open arms. A boutique hotel where we could enjoy an evening before catching an 8am JetBlue flight? Yes, please. A boutique hotel that preserved Saarinen's designs and allowed us to actually get in there and enjoy them? Now we're just drooling. Alas, the structure has a list of unfinished past development plans, to which we'd just add this hotel.

The idea won't work for many reasons, one being that the area between the TWA Terminal and the new JetBlue T5 isn't all that spacious; we believe it was being used a small parking lot for construction workers the majority of the last several years. Another potential problem is that the famous "tubes" that once took TWA passengers from the swank departure lounges out to their planes (you can see one in the above picture) have already been connected to the JetBlue terminal. And finally, it's taken what—like 10 years since closing in 2001 for them to even have this plan? And we're not even going to get into the possible security issues.

Yea, sorry. It's not happening.

[Photo: Jaunted]

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