Brian Feeney

TWA Hotel at JFK

Last Saturday, during Labor Day weekend, Lisa and I booked a couple hours at the pool at the TWA Hotel. We took the A to the AirTran, which was fine, if not a bit laborious. Getting to JFK is always 50% more hassle than you’d expect. The travel to and from would have been much better with a car, but we don’t have a car and taxis are ~$100 each way. So, A train. It’s fine!

The Saarinen-designed space is incredible, an airline terminal that was in use for around 50 years. I felt so comfortable there, and in literal awe. It’s truly beautiful. Architected spaces could and should feel this way everywhere, but we’ve subordinated the beauty of public places to the profit motive. It’s a shame. Every wave of enjoyment I felt from the Saarinen terminal came with a secondary wave of sorrow. I wish we still prioritized the attractiveness of the places we share as communities. America would be better for it.

Another shame is why this beautiful terminal was abandoned: it was never designed for our post 9/11 TSA security needs. The building was built to accommodate flyers checking in and getting to their planes. There is no room for long, snaking lines and X-ray machines. So it goes.

I took a bunch of photos, but by no means captured it all. Photography isn’t the medium for appreciating the building, anyway. You have to visit to get it. Highly recommended! Plus, the pool is nice.

September 10, 2023