BY JEFF YAPALATER
The TWA Hotel that is being built at JFK Airport is waiting for one of its final branding components, a vintage Lockheed Constellation aircraft, to arrive.
The “ Connie” is getting closer to its final resting place at JFK Airport but not without a little drama first. The two “wide load” flatbed trucks carrying the two large pieces of fuselage and tail wing section made an unscheduled stop by the Throgs Neck Bridge before the weekend and have remained there since then.
According to the MTA, the vehicles were lacking permits from a couple of agencies and were not able to proceed over the bridge and city streets. One transportation spokesman said that there is usually a few days’ wait until the applications for transporting are processed by the NYC DOT and NYPD, but they can be expedited.
It is unclear as to when these particular permits will be approved, but because of the importance of the project as part of the JFK Airport development plan, approval should come more quickly than normal and the tail section may even move Monday eve to the airport.
Meanwhile the convoy of the flatbeds carrying the blue-tarp-wrapped fuselage and iconic tail wing, along with three escort vehicles, remain wheels down as the paperwork and permits are completed. Many drivers can be seen craning their necks as they pass by wondering what might be under that huge blue wrapping. The livery and advertising for the TWA Hotel were highly visible during the days preceding the layover, but once the convoy stopped in the Bronx, tarps were placed around the fuselage and parts of the tail section.
The shrouded items were protected from the weather and also possibly against graffiti artists who often find such tableaux irresistible for artistic devilry. Big TWA-branded signage on the tail wing that reads “See You at JFK” is now also covered. The TWA Hotel is using this restoration of an actual Constellation, serial number N83838H, as the centerpiece of the new TWA Hotel currently under construction at JFK Airport.
The transported aircraft parts will be reassembled on site at the TWA Hotel as a vintage, unique lounge for the TWA Hotel. Forecasted to be open during the second quarter of 2019, the hotel will bring back the look and feel of the early glory days of flying at JFK. Five hundred rooms will be opened with easy access to all terminals on the JFK AirTrain.
Until the permitting for the bridge and roads is completed, the iconic plane’s tail wing fins, and TWA logos on the accompanying trucks are still highly visible, but the handwritten sign at the end saying “Queens or Bust” is now not to be seen. But this soon should be resolved, and like the song “After Midnight,” the convoy should be making its remaining short trip to JFK Airport in the coming wee hours of the morning.