‘This is one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen’: Enjoy a staycation – or at least a cocktail, during a layover – at this nostalgic airport hotel

Written by Barbara Williams Cosentino

JFK’s outdated TWA station, now a lodge, is a visit again in time

This text has been reprinted with permission from NextAvenue.org.

It is my husband’s birthday weekend, and we’re standing transfixed on the vintage-themed TWA Lodge at JFK Airport in New York Metropolis. Designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in 1962, the previous TWA Historic Aviation Heart, hailed by the American Institute of Architects as one of many biggest examples of mid-Twentieth century fashionable structure, is listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations.

With a excessive ceiling line, it serves as a spacious atrium for this beautiful mixture of lodge and museum, with its many reveals, sponsored by the New York Historic Society, and is a grand tribute to the period generally known as the “Golden Age of Aviation.” When Trans World Airways closed in 2001, so did the TWA terminal. After sitting empty for years, regardless of its architectural origin, and as all issues mid-century fashionable loved a brand new vogue, the constructing reopened to the general public in Might 2019 as a showpiece. Artwork for the brand new lodge.

We test in with a pleasant reservation clerk, and speak to her about all our potential adventures. We’re in for a traditional Solari break up gap departure board with genuine authentic mechanical operation, made in Italy.

Holding arms, we stroll down a cherry red-carpeted corridor with crisp white partitions and take the elevator to our room, one among 512 guestrooms. Interval music—Frank Sinatra hits interspersed with The Beatles—performs at simply the suitable quantity for my toddler’s ears.

Beautiful runway view

The Runway View room (costly, price each penny) with its floor-to-ceiling home windows overlooks the JFK runways, the place we are able to watch takeoffs. Intrigued by the proximity of departing flights, we’re amazed at how quiet the room is. The lodge’s home windows are mentioned to be the second thickest on this planet. (The home windows of the US Embassy in London are thicker.)

The least costly rooms, that are nonetheless good, have views of the well-known TWA flight hub. If you wish to get some relaxation, the Howard Hughes Presidential Suite at round $1,000 an evening (relying on the place you keep) has a runway view with an opulent sitting space. (Reclusive enterprise tycoon Hughes owned TWA from 1939 till the Nineteen Seventies.)

After touchdown on a king measurement mattress (very snug for my barely arthritic lumbar backbone) we determined to take a stroll again to the lodge. There are various nooks and crannies to discover, over 2,000 TWA artifacts to look at and glorify, and lots of taverns to select from. Picture cubicles are positioned on each nook.

We make a leisurely cease on the bar within the Sunken Lounge, the place we’ve drinks (“Vodka is My Co-Pilot” for me and “Mile-Excessive Margarita” for the birthday boy), served with TWA swizzle sticks.

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Many touches of nostalgia

Bear in mind Tab, the weight-reduction plan cola designed to “assist us watch our weight” within the age of Twiggy? The lodge has 4-foot-tall replicas of TAB cans and an oil portray of what was my favourite ingesting soda, particularly when paired with cute pink hostess Sno-Balls as an after-school snack.

Subsequent, we head to the photograph sales space (bear in mind these, when the grainy black-and-white pictures had been 4 for a greenback?) the place we snap photos with goofy smiles on our faces. We go to the Tornado room, with its outsized turntable, the place we play a wall-to-wall model of a recreation I bear in mind from a very long time in the past.

We additionally checked out the flight attendants’ and pilots’ vogue present spanning from 1945 to 2001. I obtained there to the touch one significantly fairly one, and my husband gave me a warning look. punish, flip again.

Howard Hughes’ workplace has been recreated with a big desk and lots of particulars emblematic of the Sixties, as with Saarinen, full with a drafting desk and items of graph paper.

We’re feeling nostalgic recreating a 1962 front room with an genuine Barbie dream dwelling and having fun with a lobby lined with classic posters and outsized TWA artifacts. There are great work and pictures with descriptions of the airline’s historical past, together with one with President John F. Kennedy and First Woman Jacqueline Kennedy descending the steps of an airplane.

Later, we take a dip within the rooftop infinity-edge pool, from which we are able to get a fowl’s-eye view of the planes working down the runway and taking off. Once we flip our heads the opposite method, we are able to see the planes hanging within the sky earlier than touchdown. We order glasses of fizzy drinks from the Pool Bar, seated subsequent to a girl who will probably be staying the evening on the lodge earlier than her flight to Dubai the following morning.

“This is among the most superb locations I’ve ever seen,” says my husband, and the girl, who’s extra of a world traveler than we’re, immediately agrees.

We skip skating on the out of doors Roll-a-Rama as a result of neither of us needs to danger an ungainly flop on our backside; Ignore the lodge’s large, glowing clear health club (claimed to be the world’s largest lodge health club) and head again to our room.

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Connie’s Lounge

Once we’re feeling hungry, the lodge’s restaurant, Michelin-starred Chef Jean-George Vongerichten’s Paris Café gives glorious choices to fill our stomachs with fantastically cooked, hearty meals.

After dinner, we sit within the foyer, reminiscing. I grew up in Flushing, Queens, 20 minutes from what was initially known as Idle Wild Airport. Once we had been little, my pal Felicia’s dad used to take us to the airport on some particular Saturday mornings, and we might watch the planes come and go and picture all of the magical locations we might go to someday.

Later within the night on the TWA Lodge, my husband and I headed to the elegant Connie Cocktail Lounge, housed within the restored 1958 Lockheed Constellation “Connie” aircraft, which now sits stationary on the tarmac serving drinks and nibbles to guests crowded in red-and-white seats. A tan plaid—with pull-out ashtrays—surrounded, after all, by white Saarinen lavender tables. Connie is about 116 ft lengthy and 23 ft excessive, with a wingspan of 150 ft. 5 years in the past, the four-engined propeller-driven aircraft, initially commissioned by Hughes himself, was restored to its authentic glory and is now a customer favourite.

After breakfast within the self-catering parlor the following morning, we after all head to the present store, the place we don matching pink hoodies and a $10 silver enamel pin earlier than testing.

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The lodge is accessible by air practice, freed from cost inside the airport, and a connection between the TWA lodge and all terminals. In case you are at a JetBlue (JBLU) station, you possibly can simply take the elevator to the lodge foyer.

Whether or not you spend a number of hours meandering round, particularly when you have a layover earlier than the following leg of the journey, or a lodge is your remaining vacation spot, this can be a place you should not miss. Many elements of it are free – you possibly can stroll round, test your baggage, and spend an hour or three exploring. Different sights, such because the pool and typically Café de Paris, require reservations.

Different choices to benefit from the previous

In the event you’re not going to be in New York any time quickly, you possibly can go to the TWA Museum in Kansas Metropolis, Missouri. You’ll be able to check out the various TWA artifacts housed in glass instances; Check your wings, as they are saying, on an immersive flight simulator; Encompass your self in cockpit simulation panels that had been used to coach pilots.

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And if there is not any flight on the horizon, you possibly can learn creator Ann Hood’s 2022 guide, “Fly Lady: A Memoir,” about her years as a TWA flight attendant, recalled again within the days when folks nonetheless clapped when the aircraft landed safely. (“We made it!” I bear in mind my frightened mom exclaiming, in my prepubescent journeys to Miami Seaside.) Hood’s memoir fantastically captures the glory of air journey in its heyday.

Barbra Williams Cosentino RN, LCSW, psychologist in Queens, NY, and freelance author whose essays and articles on well being, parenting, and psychological well being have appeared within the New York Occasions, Medscape, BabyCenter, and quite a few nationwide and on-line publications.

This text is reprinted with permission from NextAvenue.org (c) 2022 Twin Cities Public Tv, Inc. all rights are save.

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