(Photos: Daniel Maurer)
It’s official: As of today, New York City’s coolest hang spot is in Queens. At the airport. The
TWA Hotel opened at JFK today, bringing a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, numerous cocktail lounges, some shops, and even a 10,000-square-foot gym to the newly restored TWA Flight Center.
The Flight Center, designed by architect Eero Saarinen and considered the “Grand Central of the Jet Age,” opened in 1956 and closed in 2001, after which it was accessible only via the
occasional tour. Hotel developers MCR had promised to return the building to its “original glory,” and they’ve definitely earned their wings. Here’s our tour of the drop-dead gorgeous lobby.
The hotel can be reached via Airtrain or by pulling into this valet parking area.
An elevator in Terminal 5 gets you up to the lobby.
One of the 125-foot-long concrete tubes that lead to the lobby from Terminal 5.
Inside the entrance tube to the hotel.
The check-in area.
Seating in the check-in area.
One of the restored departure boards.
Yes, it’s fully functional. And no, there’s not actually a 2:38 TWA flight to Milwaukee.
Behind the departure board.
Uniformed greeters dancing to ’50s tunes.
The other departures board, in the back of the building.
The Sunken Lounge, operated by the Gerber Group. Reservations are now open.
The Sunken Lounge’s menu features period-appropriate cocktails as well as originals such as the Sinatra-inspired Come Fly With Me.
Cocktails at the Sunken Lounge will come with swizzle sticks modeled after TWA originals. The martini comes with TWA wings.
One of the Sunken Lounge’s service areas.
The Sunken Lounge’s other service area.
TWA signage upstairs, near what used to be the London Club.
In the former London Club, there’s a display of TWA uniforms designed by Pierre Balmain, Valentino, Ralph Lauren and others.
Entrance to the Ambassadors Club, originally the only food and beverage area that Saarinen designed here.
Plush seating has been restored to the Ambassadors Club.
More seating in the Ambassadors Club.
A water feature designed by Isamu Noguchi in the Ambassadors Club.
The tiny, circular Pope Room, where the Pope apparently sought privacy while passing through the terminal.
A window in the Ambassadors Club.
An upstairs bar.
Intelligentsia coffee is served from this counter and carts throughout the lobby.
The Paris Cafe was originally designed by Raymond Loewy, who designed the TWA twin-globes logo.
The Paris Cafe is operated by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Reservations are now open.
Vongerichten, whose staff is shown here, was on hand for the Paris Cafe’s opening.
The bar at Paris Cafe, which features outlets and USB ports at every seat.
The other side of Vongerichten’s restaurant. This area was originally called the Lisbon Lounge.
A shoe shine station near the men’s room.
The newsstand near the men’s room.
The original phone booths have been restored and you can now call out for 10 cents.
In the Warby Parker Pencil Room, pencils with witty engravings (“Chew in case of emergency”) are $2.
In the reading room, you can leaf through Phaidon art books while chilling in Herman Miller chairs.
Shinola occupies another retail space.
“Connie,” parked out back, is one of the Constellations that TWA debuted after they served as airlift planes in World War II.
Connie’s seats can be reserved for cocktail service.
View from Connie.
A reproduction of Howard Hughes’s office; he acquired TWA in 1939.
Howard Hughes’s “desk,” complete with whiskey and cigar.
A model of the terminal, in an alcove with informational signs about designer Eero Saarinen.
The clock affixed to the center of the vaulted ceiling is now functional.
One of the two new hotel wings, visible behind the original building.