64 PCMA CONVENE SEPTEMBER 2017 PCMACONVENE.ORG
JFK/John F. Kennedy
It’s going out on a limb to mention
John F. Kennedy International Airport
when talking about exceptional travel
experiences. JFK comes in fifth on
Bloomberg’s Airport Frustration Index,
which ranks 36 U.S. and Canadian
airports based on factors such as time
spent at the terminal, on-time departures, terminal layouts, and restaurants
and shopping. (New York’s LaGuardia
Airport is in first place.)
But pay attention to JFK over the
coming years. New York Gov. Andrew
Cuomo announced a $10-billion plan
to upgrade the airport earlier this year,
and there have been a flurry of signals
that new ways of thinking are taking
root there. One innovation is JetBlue’s
24,000-square-foot farm planted outside
Terminal 5, where the airline grows
herbs and vegetables, including its No. 1
crop: blue potatoes for use in the blue
potato chips it serves on flights.
Another surprise, also in Terminal
5, is a 4,000-square-foot rooftop lounge,
which o;ers seating (on the grass,
benches, and chairs), a children’s play
area, and a dog park, dubbed the Woof-top Lounge.
When the Trans World Flight Center,
which served as the terminal for T WA
airlines, opened at JFK in the early
1960s at JFK, it had a distinctly futuristic appeal. But when the terminal
reopens in 18 months as the TWA Hotel,
visitors will feel as “if they are stepping
back in time to 1962,” said Tyler Morse,
founder and CEO of MCR Development
in New York City.
Designed by Eero Saarinen, who
also designed the Gateway Arch in
St. Louis, the TWA terminal was considered to be the embodiment of the
jet age. “It was one of the most iconic
buildings in America,” Morse said. “It
was a sight to behold.” Closed in 2001,
the building was listed on the National
Register of Historic Places in 2005.
Restoring the terminal and adding hotel
rooms, meeting space, and dining and
entertainment was “an extraordinarily
audacious” idea, Morse said. “We dealt
with 22 di;erent government agencies
and had 30 meetings with preservation
groups.” The restoration of the terminal
will preserve furnishings designed by
midcentury modernists such as War-
ren Platner and Charles Eames, and
a green-marble fountain by sculptor
Isamu Noguchi. Developers also will
rebuild the original flap board that
announced flight departures.
The finished hotel will have 505
guest rooms — in towers flanking the
original terminal — and 50,000 square
feet of event space, including 42 meeting rooms and two ballrooms. “It will be
a world-class hotel, with all the amenities,” Morse said. The property will o;er
eight restaurants and six bars, and resurrect three of the terminal’s lounges:
the Paris Café, the Lisbon Lounge, and
the Constellation Club.
“It’s going to be a terrific destination,” Morse said. “It’s going to be
the destination between Europe and
America” for global business meetings.
“It’s a whole other world than when
JFK was conceived.”;.
Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director
of digital content for Convene.
Jet Age Icon The former
TWA Flight Center, which
opened in 1962, will re-open
as the TWA Hotel.