The next few weeks are particularly busy here at Hotel Business as we gear up for The Lodging Conference in Phoenix and then return to the East Coast to head to HX: The Hotel Experience and BDNY in our “hometown.” This issue and the corresponding Show Dailies, which go to the upcoming trade show, traditionally have a New York City theme, whether a hotel opening, renovation or new development. This is especially true when it comes to the Show Dailies, which this time, feature Michael Langer and Gulliver’s Gate, a $40-million, 50,000-sq.-ft. miniature world in Times Square, and the iconic Plaza Hotel, which is once again up for sale, this time reportedly for more than $500 million. (For those of you who don’t make it to HX, we want to make sure you don’t miss these stories—and more. Visit togo.hotelbusiness.com to check out the articles.)
And speaking of iconic, it’s the cover story of this issue that really excites me: The transformation of the Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Flight Center terminal at JFK International Airport, as it takes center stage in the development of the 505-key TWA Hotel, set to open in 2019. The team at MCR/Morse Development is redeveloping the 1962 treasure, a pure and classic example of the now hip-again mid-century modern design aesthetic.
As someone who has always been inspired by design and architecture—and as a native New Yorker—it’s both comforting and exhilarating to watch this revival of his architectural genius, despite overwhelming challenges and even, at one time, talks of demolition. Considered more a neo-futuristic style at the time, the fluid lines of the symmetrical building—with cantilevered concrete shells that extend outward, representing flight—are visually stunning, as through sculptural supports and curving stairways, a sense of movement is evoked. And isn’t that what we all speak of—and write about—in terms of architecture? Striking an emotional chord, eliciting a feeling from what is otherwise an inanimate object.
And though his untimely death at a relatively young age cut short one of the most influential architectural careers in American culture, the vision of this Finnish-American architect and industrial designer—and structural gem in New York’s Queens borough—lives on, very soon to be enjoyed by a whole new generation of tourists and locals who will feel the vintage vibe upon entering what will become the hotel’s lobby. The emotional connection that Saarinen innovatively created more than 50 years ago will now not only live on—but with the highly anticipated opening of this hospitality hub—will thrive.