BY JEFF YAPALATER
The TWA Hotel is due to open on May 15.
One key attraction of the Hotel is the use of a restored Lockheed Constellation aircraft, affectionately called “Connie.” The Connie will be used as an on-ground passenger lounge, offering travelers and hotel guests a place to mingle and have a drink.
This piece of the project puzzle came together at JFK Airport’s Terminal 5 as a huge crane hoisted the first of two wings for the aircraft fuselage body onto its temporary position on the TWA Hotel footprint. The fuselage and tail will follow shortly when all will be re-assembled for the hotel opening.
On hand were dozens of workers, hotel project managers and surprised arriving passengers from JetBlue, who saw the immense estimated 10,000 pound, approximately 60-foot-long wing being swung over a retaining wall onto its new “tarmac” outside of the enormous glass windows of the former TWA terminal.
A bit of a breeze necessitated some control lines by the equipment handlers, but all went smoothly as the metal glistened against the backdrop of the JFK Control Tower and the TWA sign, which was renovated for the opening.
Travelers and guests can also see hundreds of beds against the smoky glass windows as housekeeping gets the 500 rooms ready for occupancy next month.
This unique addition to the hotel is expected to thrill many visitors. Some of the thrill will be missing since the airspeed of the original Constellation was 380 miles per hour – the restored one at JFK will feel as if standing still.