NEW YORK—The TWA Hotel has opened at JFK Airport, where thousands of guests watched New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Tyler Morse, CEO/managing partner of MCR and Morse Development, cut the ribbon in the iconic Sunken Lounge.
Celebrating the restoration of Eero Saarinen’s landmark 1962 former Trans World Airlines terminal—which now serves as the heart of the 512-room hotel—visitors were surprised by a flash mob bopping to period tunes. TWA alums came out in droves, wearing their preserved uniforms, reuniting with friends and sharing memories. Speakers also included Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO; Robin Hayes, CEO, JetBlue; and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
When the TWA terminal opened in 1962, it epitomized the glamour and optimism of the Jet Age. The structure was designated a New York City landmark in 1994 and, after its 2001 closure, was listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places in 2005.
Restoring the building (a project led by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners), constructing two new hotel wings behind it (designed by Lubrano Ciavarra Architects with interior design by Stonehill Taylor) and building a 50,000-sq.-ft. events center (by INC Architecture & Design) was an endeavor. The project involved 22 government agencies and more than 170 firms. Turner Construction Company began work in the fall of 2016, with roughly 450 union tradespeople on site every day. In addition, dining, retail and amenity partners helped give the space new life.
TWA’s Food & Beverage Outlets, Amenities Serve Up History
Along with the hotel opening, Gerber Group opened The Sunken Lounge, The Pool Bar & Observation Deck and Connie. The Sunken Lounge reignites the magic of Eero Saarinen’s landmark 1962 TWA Flight Center, restored as the lobby bar.
The Pool Bar & Observation Deck has a 63-by-20-ft. infinity-edge pool (turned heated pool-cuzzi in colder months) with views of multiple JFK runways. Connie, one of only four Lockheed Constellation L-1649A left in the world, transports guests back into 1958. Step onto the tarmac and aboard her renovated cabin, where vintage-inspired cocktails and snacks are served.
For more on the TWA Hotel opening, be sure to look out for upcoming Hotel Business video coverage.