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Thread: Idlewild Airport (JFK)

  1. #46
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Try the New York Public Library Digital Collection (google it -- 1000s of photos online). No doubt there's a few there.

  2. #47


    There is currently a conversation on about the numbers used to identify the various terminals at JFK, and whether they should be renumbered to account for the loss of (3), 6 & 9. Most are leaning towards "no" given the confusion it would cause, but -- if I recall correctly -- the existing numbering scheme did not exist (at least not in common knowledge) prior to the demolition of the IAB. When I worked in travel in the 80s/90s we referred to them by the largest tenant (Eastern, Delta, Pan Am, WWD, IAB, EWD, TWA international and domestic, British, American, United) as they were identified in the Flight Guides the PA used to mail out every few months. At some point the guide started referring to Eastern as "Terminal 1" and United as "Terminal 3" despite there being no "2".

    I am wondering if the sequentially-numbered signs along the approach road were there but that use of the numbers did not extend beyond the airport.

  3. #48
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Terminals 3, 8 and 6 should have been landmarked imho and repurposed.

    I'd really be interested to know how the figure of $1m for saving the Terminal 8 stained-glass mural was derived.

    7 of JFK Airport’s Demolished Jet Age Terminals in NYC

    by Michelle Young

    Worldport Terminal (former Pan-AM Terminal) at JFK Airport

    In the Jet Age, the world’s most famous architects were designing terminals for John F. Kennedy Airport. Many of these buildings would not have the same luck as the TWA Flight Center, the iconic, landmarked terminal that will be turned into a hotel after years of preservation activism and support from inside the Port Authority. It may come as surprise that airline companies have control over the fate of historical buildings, but such is the nature of airport architecture, which is perpetually looking forward to accommodate the new trends and demands of jet travel.
    Like in the demolitions of Pennsylvania Station and the renovation of Grand Central Terminal, travel must continue undisrupted in any renovation or construction. As a result, for a period of time, new and old often sit by side at airports offering passengers and flight industry members a chance to reflect. Here are the lost terminals at JFK Airport:

    1. Worldport Terminal, Terminal 3

    The Worldport Terminal was designed as a showcase by Ives, Turano & Gardner Associated Architects and Walther Prokosch of Tippets-Abbett-McCarthy-Stratton. In 2013, as the terminal was still in use (but deteriorating), Delta decided to demolish it for airplane parking.

    Preservationists called for its reuse, citing its iconic saucer shape architecture and its historic moments (the first home of the Boeing 707 and where The Beatles departed from America in 1964). It also landed on the National Trust’s 11 Most Endangered Places List that year. Yet, as we analyzed in 2013, the terminal was not a slam dunk for preservation, the most damning were the significant alterations that have occurred to the building over the years. New Yorkers watched as the building was stripped, over a multi-month demolition.

    2. American Airlines Terminal 8

    Before the new, fancy American Airlines terminal opened in 2008 there was a mid-century terminal just next door, designed by Kahn and Jacobs in 1960. The front facade featured a 317 foot wide, 23 foot tall work of art by Robert Sowers, the largest stained-glass work in the installation in the world until 1979. Citing prohibitive costs to save the stained glass piece, estimated to be at least $1 million, with more to restore it and reinstall it elsewhere, American Airlines had the the panels taken down. Eileen Clifford, a 29-year-old American Airlines flight attendant even called dozens of conservation groups and museums, hoping one might take the whole piece, but to no avail.

    In the end, they went all over the United States, and likely the world: to an American Airlines museum in Texas, the Madison Museum of Fine Art, the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Long Island, and the rest to antique shop Olde Good Things, who removed the remaining pieces, restored and sold them.

    3. The Lost I.M. Pei Terminal 6

    Main departure pavilion of I.M. Pei’s National Airlines Terminal at JFK airport. (Photo by Gil Amiaga/

    The I.M. Pei-designed Terminal 6, built in 1970, was designed as an exercise in restraint with an aim towards transparency, the architect sought to “create an environment for travelers that was serene, generous, clear, spacious, simple and dignified,”according to Henry N. Cobb, from Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in New York. Known as the Sundrome, from its conception it was never meant to compete with the audaciousness of the TWA Flight Center. This design decision would ultimately lead, in part, to its demolition in 2011.

    4. Eastern Airlines Terminal 1

    Photo via Wikimedia Commons by RuthAS

    The Eastern Airlines Terminal, or Terminal 1, was built in 1959 and designed by Chester L. Churchill. Passengers may remember the Easter Airlines motto, “if you had wings…”. No longer in operation, Eastern Airlines’ businesses were sold to Continental Airlines, Texas Air and Donald Trump, who bought the shuttle operation. In 1991, the company went bankrupt and the terminal was demolished in 1995.

    5. International Arrivals Building Terminal 4

    Photo via Jon Proctor

    The International Arrivals Building (IAB) was the first new project when Idlewild Airport was renamed John F. Kennedy Airport. Designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) it was considered cutting edge, particularly for its “finger piers,” that sat at right angles to the terminal and allowed more airplanes to be parked at the same time. The terminal also had an observation deck. The building opened in 1957 and was demolished to make way for the new IAB Terminal, also designed by SOM, which opened in 2001.

    6. United Airlines Terminal 9

    Also in 1959, United Airlines opened Terminal 7 which later became Terminal 9. The building was also designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. In addition to United, it housed Delta before it was acquired Northeast Airlines.

    7. The Temporary Terminal at JFK Airport

    JFK Temporary Terminal. Photo via NYC Aviation

    As Idlewild Airport made its transition to John F. Kennedy International, a temporary terminal was built. Looking back, it had an almost beach-like mid-century architecture style due to its impermanence. It was built as an all-in-one facility, and included the original air traffic control tower (first of three), an observation deck of wooden planks, akin to a boardwalk, and a little bar on the roof. It was torn down in 1960.

  4. #49
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Wow, didn't know this.

    There Used to Be a Big Fountain at JFK Airport

    International park in front of the previous International Arrivals Building. TWA Flight Center in background. Image via Jaunted.

    Back when jet travel was glamorous, the architecture of airports was designed to reflect an aspirational lifestyle. In front of the original International Arrivals Building (IAB) was an immense fountain called the “Fountain of Liberty,” a part of the landscaped “International Park.” The pool was 220 feet in diameter, with a rising ramp used as a visitor’s observation deck.

    According to the book John F. Kennedy Airport by Joshua Stoff, the fountain had 916 nozzles that shot water to a height of 60 feet and was illuminated by 308 lamps placed inside the pool that displayed five colors. Stoff writes, “like Las Vegas, they produced an ever-changing spectacle on a repeating, six-minute cycle.”

  5. #50


    Those terminals were awful, especially 8. They were demolished for good reason and were falling apart. They were also not suitable for post 9/11 travel and were cramped facilities. They could have kept 3, but that terminal was in such a state of disrepair that it was unlikely to happen. You would end up with white elephants like the TWA building that nobody is using if one were to actually landmark them.

    That fountain was nice.

    However, I'll say this, they should have not built those terminals at all and rethought the entire airport before embarking on that renovation project. 1 or 2 large terminals would have been a much better plan for JFK instead of the current setup that is for the birds.
    Last edited by futurecity; September 10th, 2015 at 04:14 AM.

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