TWA on way to JFK, half-way.

TWA on way to JFK, half-way.
The shrouded restored Lockheed Constellation airplane fuselage, to be used as a centerpiece for the JFK Hotel, awaits permitting for the last leg of its journey from Maine to JFK Airport.
Photo 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. Well one-half in any case.

The “Connie” is in two major sections, the fuselage and tail assembly. They were both getting closer to their final destination 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 Throggs Neck Bridge and have remained there for a few days until the tail assembly was moved to JFK Airport while the fuselage remains in the Bronx until complicated transportation approvals have been issued. 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 all these particular permits will be approved, but because of the importance of the project as part of the JFK Airport redevelopment plan, approval should quicker than normal. As in this case, the tail section got approved but the fuselage is awaiting permitting.

Meanwhile, the flatbeds carrying the blue tarp wrapped fuselage and iconic tail wing, along with three escort vehicles, have partially completed their job with the tail assembly now resting under the JFK Airport deicing tent with a great view of Jamaica Bay.

At this time many drivers approaching the bridge 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 possible against graffiti artists who often find such tableaus irresistible for artistic devilry. Big TWA branded signage on the tail wing read, “See You at JFK” for all to see during the transportation which began over a week ago from Maine, can now be seen if you look closely from the Van Wyck service Road into JFK.

The TWA Hotel is using this restoration of an actual Constellation, serial number N8083H, as the centerpiece of the new TWA Hotel currently under construction at JFK Airport next to the JetBlue terminal. 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. 500 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 blue tarped fuselage hides the TWA Hotel branding by the bridge. But this soon should be resolved and like the song “ After Midnight” the convoy should be making its remaining short trip to JFK Airport soon in the coming wee hours of the morning when the wide load is permitted to cross the bridge.

The soon-to-be hotel lounge in a hangar at JFK.
Photo by Jeff Yapalater

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