Yesterday I took a short trip to JFK, but without any intention of getting on a flight, instead I traveled back in time via Open House New York’s TWA Flight Center behind the scenes event. Open House began as a small grassroots non-profit dedicated to educating the public about New York City’s architecture and design. It is now known locally, nationally and internationally for its free Annual OHNY Weekend—an unparalleled citywide cultural event in October that showcases hundreds of NYC’s most architecturally and culturally significant spaces and places, many not usually open to the public, in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs—and its ability to open doors, providing unique opportunities to learn about, explore and experience NYC’s built environment.
The directions provided by OHNY were easy, essentially finding your way to JetBlue’s Terminal 5 and then walking through to baggage carousel 6 and looking for a tunnel entrance into the Flight Center. It was pretty incredible walking directly from one of JFK’s most modern terminals into what in 1962 was hailed as the future. The access was amazing and we got to freely roam around most of the terminal, including the two tubes, the main sunken seating area , the Paris cafe, the Ambassador Club, and the Constellation Club. You could even catch a glimpse of the old check-in area, duty free, and the bathrooms!
The terminal was built in 1962 and closed in October 2001, though a major renovation has been underway the last couple of years to restore the structure to its former glory. A sample of pictures below, with even more pictures here. If they reopen the terminal for a third time next year, it’s definitely worth a visit to a very different time in air travel!
Again, it was a great experience and I took a ton of pictures, the rest can be found here. So, with no bags, public transportation was the easy choice and we opted for the Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station, connecting to the AirTrain on the way there and then the AirTrain connecting to the A subway line on the way back. I’ve done the LIRR connection before but I was actually pleasantly surprised by the A train which took about the same amount of time to get back to the city as the LIRR would have, about 45 minutes total.