A vintage 1958 Lockheed Constellation plane, featuring an open cockpit and several rows of brown and plaid seats along two aisles with envy-evoking legroom, is now parked outside Kennedy Airport.
But this isn't just some old relic — instead, it has a new life as a fully outfitted cocktail bar that's part of the anticipated TWA Hotel, which opened its doors Wednesday.
A nod to romantic notions of the Jet Age, the hotel has channeled the midcentury roots of the historic TWA Flight Center, which has been vacant since the airline shuttered in 2001. And with a cache of bars and restaurants — and drinks like the Old-Fashioned or Royal Ambassador cocktail (with champagne, orange juice and Grand Marnier) — the hotel starts to feel like a "Mad Men" episode brought to life.
The TWA Flight Center, designed by Eero Saarinen, first opened in 1962. It was landmarked by the city in 1994 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
The TWA Hotel broke ground in December 2016, and includes 512 rooms each with windows that are more than four inches thick. Rates start at $249 for an overnight room or $139 for a day pass, according to developers. While there are many modern aspects to the hotel, much of the focus was on preserving original details like building working split-flap boards and installing chili pepper-red carpeting, as well as restoring 100,000 square feet of penny-tiled floors.
The hotel is the first full service hotel at the airport and is more than just rooms — passengers transiting through JFK can stop by any of the project's bars and restaurants, including The Sunken Lounge, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's venture the Paris Café, and, of course, the totally renovated 1958 Lockheed Constellation L-1649A Starliner plane, or "Connie."