Former TWA Terminal Could Become a Hotel

Automobile tailfins and leopard skin pillbox hats were in style when the iconic TWA passenger terminal opened at New York's Idlewild Airport (now JFK) in 1962. The work of architect Eero Saarinen, perhaps the most famous of the modern school of design, TWA terminal became the symbol of the glamour of the jet age in transportation. But even before post-9/11 security concerns, passenger volume, aircraft gate requirements and baggage systems rendered the building obsolete for practical use as a terminal. When American Airlines bought TWA in 2001, the terminal closed. It remained vacant and unused until 2008, when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey opted to invest $20 million to remove asbestos and otherwise refurbish the building to make it more attractive to potential developers. Now, it appears the old TWA facility could serve as the lobby and entryway for a small but ultra-chic hotel. The challenges include limited height, based on FAA requirements for airport buildings (for obvious reasons). But should the plans come to fruition, this example of Saarinen's art could live on as a niche-market, boutique hostelry worthy of the city the airport serves.