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Queens Chronicle

Your ‘last’ chance to see TWA Flight Center

‘Open House NY’ offers a final look before the building becomes hotel

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Posted: Thursday, October 8, 2015 10:30 am

The general public will have one last opportunity to see the inside of the iconic TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport before it’s renovated into a 505-guestroom hotel by MCR Development and JetBlue.

The interior will be opened for one day only, on Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of “Open House New York,” a weekend when the city’s greatest architectural structures are open for free.

A press release from OHNY states it’s “likely to be the last time the TWA Flight Center will be open to the public in its current form.”

Although the landmarked exterior of the building — designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen — is to remain intact, the interior will be modified to make space for the rooms, an observation deck and eight restaurants and bars.

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved a 75-year lease for the building two weeks ago.

The TWA Flight Center was the crown jewel of aviation after it opened in 1962, but it shut down in 2001 because it was unable to accommodate larger aircraft.

The Queens site has been a part of OHNY in the past, including last year.

Queens Chronicle photographer and retired architect Steve Fisher saw it then, as well as earlier this year during a private tour with the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

“It’s an absolute treat,” Fisher, of Middle Village, said of the flight center. “It’s like being in a different world, before being transported to a different world. It’s evocative of air travel during a time that was much more glamorous than it is now.”

Groundbreaking on the hotel is expected next year, and it should open in 2018.

It is expected to bring 3,700 construction and permanent jobs to the South Queens area, Gov. Cuomo said when he announced it in July.

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