An icon of the Golden Age of air travel is slated for a wake-up call as a new boutique hotel. NY1's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
As it was for nearly 40 years, this soaring curvilinear space, the former TWA flight center at JFK, was recently full of life again.
"It just conjures up the excitement of taking a trip, taking an international trip, walking down the flight wing, going to the Ambassador Club," says Eileen Williams, a former TWA employee.
Indeed, during Open House New York, many of the visitors came to channel memories and honor an almost sacred place—a masterpiece of Finnish architect Eero Saarinen that is ready to take off in another direction.
"From what I understand, Andres Balazs partners which manage and operate the Standard Hotels, among others, is the entity that has been brought in for hotel development," says Gregory Wessner of Open House New York.
The Port Authority has not formally announced nor confirmed Balazs as the developer charged with turning the beloved Flight Center into a hotel but promises to preserve the building’s landmark status.
"In our negotiations I think they are very much in sync with returning this to 1962 to 1972, bringing back the Lisbon Lounge, the Paris Café, bringing the experience to the way it was back when TWA first opened," says Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Spokesman Jim Steven.
There are some skeptics of this flight plan though.
"It’s not the most convenient place to get to. I mean there's plenty of parking and the AirTrain comes here. But it’s not like in the middle of Manhattan," says David Abbey, a self-proclaimed aviation buff.
Others, though, have practically made their reservation.
"I’m delighted that it's being preserved," says one former TWA employee.
"I believe as long as this is here, TWA is still alive," adds another former TWA employee.