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Jet Set: 1964

Jet Set: 1964

Queens, New York, 1964. "Trans World Airlines Terminal, John F. Kennedy (Idlewild) Airport, 1956-62. Eero Saarinen, architect." Back before air travel turned into a bus trip with X-rays. Photo by Balthazar Korab. View full size.


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Eero Saarinen's TWA terminal

Look here and here for other views of this magnificently shaped building.

Saarinen Wing

My father built the TWA Flight Center. It's made of TransitMix concrete and the ceilings were all poured in continuous slabs.


Well, I showed this picture to my 9-year-old daughter (who has done quite a lot of air travel), and she thought it looked amazing. She wanted to know why we don't make pretty terminals like this anymore.

She also wanted to know why the terminal wasn't in use, so I explained that TWA doesn't exist anymore. But now I see Jet Blue uses the space. Cool.

Using such a modern sculpture. ..

. . .that was also a working building seems rather exciting.

Back to the Future

In Oct 2011 Eero Saarinen's TWA terminal was "brought back to life" for 3 hours. It was the first time it was opened to the public since closing in 2001.

Can lines be too clean?

I agree with the critical comments. In relation to the generally ultra-clean lines the flags look quite untidy. As for the people, they just look out of place. Maybe if they were all in white spacesuits.


I'll take any train terminal over this.

A Flash Gordon future

This pretentious waste of space was evidently Saarinen's idea of what the future would look like. Only it's here now and it doesn't. This view looks totally dated. I'm glad things went more people friendly and less cold eye candy.

Saarinen and Korab: Two Masters

Nice that Korab worked in the illuminated jet tail.

Ooops...forgot to take that ladder away...


Good to see more people in this shot, helps to realize the scale and sweep of this wonderful space.


1964 isn't that long ago - well, if you're my age - but how sterile that environment is. Sorry, Eero Saarinen, but warm and fuzzy it's not.

Ghosts, in that day and age?

What's with the ghosts at the center, under the chandelier?

[A longer exposure in low-light situations is still a benefit in this digital age. Smaller lens apertures provide greater depth of field and a relatively lower sensitivity - ISO today, ASA then - results in less noise (film grain in the photochemical realm). The notch code indicates this was shot on Kodak Royal Pan, ASA 400, which in this large 4x5 format would appear relatively fine-grained. -tterrace]

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