A vintage aircraft had a whirlwind tour of midtown Manhattan over the weekend before settling into its new home on the tarmac next to the TWA Hotel which is set to open May 15. The fully restored 1958 Lockheed Constellation, known as Connie, will be transformed into a cocktail lounge.
Connie’s spin through the city, including a stop at Times Square, was filmed as part of an upcoming documentary The Rebirth of the TWA Flight Center chronicling the transformation of the old TWA terminal at JFK International Airport into a 512-room hotel.
The aircraft flew into JFK, then called Idlewild, while it was in service. In 1955, Trans World Airlines constructed an eight-story billboard of the Constellation in Times Square on Broadway and 43rd Street. The billboard came down in 1960 as Connie was replaced with a jet that flew 300 mph faster and it went on to serve as an Alaskan bush plane and a marijuana transport plane before it was rescued MCR/MORSE Development which restored it to her original condition and made it a part of the TWA Hotel project.
“Our Connie is an important piece of New York’s rich aviation history,” MCR/MOTSE CEO and Managing Partner Tyler Morse said. “Partnering with the City of New York to bring Connie back to Times Square has been a dream of mine since 2016, when we began restoring the TWA terminal to its original 1962 condition.”
While it sat in Times Square, Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped by and toured the aircraft.
“We’re celebrating today our history. We’re celebrating what this means not only to New York City in general but to the people of Queens who are going to have all these great new jobs,” de Blasio said referring to job creation at the TWA Hotel. “We’re celebrating, for sure 4,000 new union jobs, good paying jobs.”
The hotel will feature six restaurants and eight bars as well as an Intelligentsia coffee bar. Other amenities include high-end retail outlets, 50,000 square feet of event space, a rooftop pool and observation deck and the world’s biggest hotel gym, a 10,000-square-foot fitness center.