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TWA Flight Center open 16 Oct 2011 [PHOTOS]

TWA Flight Center open 16 Oct 2011 [PHOTOS]

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Old Oct 15, 11, 8:14 am
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TWA Flight Center open 16 Oct 2011 [PHOTOS]

As part of the Open House New York programme, the Eero Saarinen TWA Flight Center will be open to the public

http://ohny.org/site-programs/weeken...-flight-center

Any FTers going?
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Old Oct 15, 11, 5:37 pm
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Thanks for posting & welcome to FlyerTalk, Pengaea! Your post was placed in the moderation queue since you are a new member, and I've now cleared it.

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Old Oct 15, 11, 6:00 pm
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Cool - I don't see any RSVP info. Does this mean it's open admission? Some of the OHNY stuff is capacity-controlled and sells out.
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Old Oct 15, 11, 8:46 pm
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The only bit I see is that the site says lines are expected and to arrive early.

Looks like I know what I'm doing tomorrow afternoon.
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Old Oct 16, 11, 8:11 pm
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So visiting the TWA Flight Center brought back a few memories, but also some questions as I clearly didn't pay as much attention to details back when the terminal was open as I do now

There appear to be two premium-style passenger lounges... one downstairs on the right (behind the ticket counters) and one upstairs on the left, with what seems to have been a fountain. What was the difference between them?

Where were the security checkpoints in the later years? Were they at the far end of the tubes (by the gates)?
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Old Oct 16, 11, 8:53 pm
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The lounge downstairs was the Constellation Club. Upstairs was the Ambassadors Lounge. My understanding is that the CC was for F passengers while the AL was for paid lounge memberships.

It was great to see the facility and the results of all that renovation effort. It was truly beautiful inside. Here are some of the photos I took today:







Click on any of the photos (or here) to read more about my experience at the site and to see more photos.

The line was roughly 50 deep at 12:30, a full half hour before they opened the doors. I'd say there were easily a few hundred people passing through - including a number of retired TWA employees - over the 2.5 hours I was there.
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Old Oct 16, 11, 9:20 pm
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Awesome pics and write up thanks sbm12
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Old Oct 17, 11, 10:45 am
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Looks straight out of the Jetsons! Thanks for posting, sbm12!
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Old Oct 18, 11, 7:56 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
The lounge downstairs was the Constellation Club. Upstairs was the Ambassadors Lounge. My understanding is that the CC was for F passengers while the AL was for paid lounge memberships.
Thanks!
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Old Oct 19, 11, 8:51 am
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Great write-up and excellent photo coverage. Thank you very much for making the effort to "cover" the event for us. I passed through that terminal many times and it was always a weird thrill to walk down one of those "people tubes" to where a TW 747 sat moored up close to a tiny boarding area. (Memo to bennos: no room for checkpoints down there. Security was pre-tube.)

** You mentioned in passing that there is talk of transforming the building to a layover hotel. That would be thrilling.

** It is hard to believe Saarinen was responsible for both this building, IMO the most exciting example of airport architecture ever, and the IAD terminal, which I've always found depressing and Soviet-feeling.

** Your description of the construction process was great. I heard or read once that the TWA terminal is the architectural equivalent of the bumblebee -- it's not supposed to stay up, but it does. If only we could still say the same for TWA itself.
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Old Oct 19, 11, 9:42 am
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I was actually going to be a bit more harsh in my description of IAD in the post but I must admit that I actually like the facade. The interior - much like that of this terminal - was designed in a way that simply didn't meet the needs of the rapidly expanding airlines and their operational and capacity needs. But I actually like the exterior architecture of IAD with the sweeping front.

Saarinen was known for designing each project specifically to meet the needs of the individual location rather than repeating or depending on legacy works for new efforts. I think these two terminals are actually a great example of that.
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Old Oct 19, 11, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
I was actually going to be a bit more harsh in my description of IAD in the post but I must admit that I actually like the facade. The interior - much like that of this terminal - was designed in a way that simply didn't meet the needs of the rapidly expanding airlines and their operational and capacity needs. But I actually like the exterior architecture of IAD with the sweeping front.
It's beautiful at first sight when you drive up, but navigating the interior is a different story, especially on arrival when you are below decks. You sort of exit through a series of cloacas, like expelled waste. And the retrofits over the years for capacity and security have only made things worse.

I believe Saarinen left plans to accommodate extensions of the original landside terminal in like style -- the original idea, back in the '60s, was to double or triple the length of the main building when more capacity justified it, not pursue all this midfield action.
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Old Oct 24, 11, 2:19 am
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Originally Posted by bennos View Post
Where were the security checkpoints in the later years? Were they at the far end of the tubes (by the gates)?
A little while before they closed, because of heightened security, they actually moved the security checkpoint to the front doors making the entire terminal "sterile". The lines were in the street and everyone, visitors, passengers, and redcaps had to go through complete luggage, carryon and personal screening if they wanted to get in the building.

I don't remember if they ever had the security at the end of the tubes
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Old Oct 28, 11, 4:56 pm
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Beautiful building (studied it in college art class) but awful airline terminal.

I recall the New York Times architectural critic (Paul Godlberger?) who criticized the "tubes" as being like something out of "A Clockwork Orange" and actually bad for your psychological well-being.

For me, the worst aspect of the terminal was that on returning from an international flight and after clearing Customs, the only way to go upstairs to the ground level was to give up your bags to a separate "luggage mover" and take the escalator. I never liked having to rush to be sure my luggage wasn't stolen.

Not everything old is necessarily good.

By the way, it was the Ambassadors Club, not "lounge." I was a member.

Last edited by Landing Gear; Nov 3, 11 at 4:56 pm
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Old Nov 3, 11, 12:15 pm
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Wow, that looks fabulous, thanks for posting

As an aside, I reckon if there ever was a terminal custom made for Virgin Atlantic, that is it. I reckon they should take it over & move their operations at JFK to there, along Virgin america
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