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HermansCVR580
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Former JFK international terminal and tower

Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:47 pm

Going to JFK for the first time this summer, I’ve become quite interested in it’s history. Could someone tell me about the old international terminal and also what was located below the tower cab of the old tower? It looks like many floors of offices or something. Are there any pictures or video out there showing the interior of these areas?
Thank you in advance from snowy Wisconsin.
The right decision at the wrong time, is still a wrong decision. "Hal Carr"
 
global2
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:43 pm

There is a book called "Recapturing the Dream" by Mark Blacklock which has a history of the design of every original terminal at Idlewild, later JFK Airport, and it's full of amazing photos. The control tower was originally on top of an open steel frame, and I guess the offices were added in soon after. The center of the IAB had the arched arrivals hall as the centerpiece. The famous mobile by Alexander Calder that hung from the ceiling was saved and hangs in T4 today. On either side of the arrivals hall were the individual airline check in offices: BOAC, Lufthansa, KLM, Sabena, Swissair, Air France, etc. Each one had its own unique interior design and furnishings. (BOAC went on to build its very own terminal, T7, whose days are sadly numbered). JFK had a huge fountain in the middle, I forget the name of it, and a rectangular lake which had the Tri-Faith chapels: Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish. One of my Dad's friends was married there.

There is a somewhat cheesy old movie called "Come Fly with Me" (1963), about the adventures of three stewardesses. The opening credits are a drive around the entire airport, passing one terminal after another. The diversity and architecture are really amazing when you think about how airports are designed today. The American Airlines terminal featured the world's largest stained glass window as its front facade, and it was an explosion of color!

Unfortunately, the size of commercial aviation was very small when the "Terminal City" concept for Idlewild was first conceived in the piston era so as the industry grew, and particularly after the 747 was introduced, the terminals soon became outdated and overcrowded. But you have an opportunity to at least visit the last remaining terminals: British Airways (T7), and soon the TWA Hotel will be opening in Eero Saarinen's brilliantly designed TWA terminal (former T5, in front of JetBlue). I can't wait to pay a visit myself.
 
HermansCVR580
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:52 pm

Global2;

Thank you for the heads up on that book, I will have to see if I can find it, sounds like exactly what I am looking for. Yes I will be staying at the new TWA hotel so I’m very excited for that. I kick myself now passing up so many opportunities to fly into JFK when I was younger instead opting for LGA. I really enjoy how each airline had its onw style and flavor in their terminals at JFK, something we cannot experience as much nowadays.
The right decision at the wrong time, is still a wrong decision. "Hal Carr"
 
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ClipperYankee
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:18 pm

I used to go pickup friends and family at the International Arrivals Building (IAB) often and there was a footbridge leading into the terminal that people rarely seemed to use. So I'd avoid the craziness of people trying to park as close as possible to the terminal, leave my car by where the bridge ended, and then had an nice, easy walk into and out of the IAB. And I remember the church and the fountain well. I also remember always being intrigued by the design of the tower the OP was asking about. And yes, the huge stained glass facade at AA's terminal.
And to get slightly off topic, the crazy spaghetti-like drive you had to do to get to the rooftop parking at Pan Am's nearby Worldport.
I remember it all fondly.
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jfk777
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:25 pm

Sadly The old IAB, the Pan AM Worldport and the TWA terminal have been replaced. Though they were historical they were out of date and in need of much repairs. Terminal 1 in 1998 was the first new terminal at JFK in decades, things at the IAB got so bad that four airlines got together to built it. JAL, KAL, AF, and LH built T1 which is now bursting at the seems since the Port Authority had the "brilliant idea" to let Delta move into terminal 4( new IAB) after they left T3 and quick quick a bunch of airlines out.

T1 got many of the "orphan" airlines. IT doesn't help Delta still uses terminal 2 for its domestic flights. The Port Authority needs to build something on the PAN AM T3 site to relieve the pressure at T1. Last week new broke that BA is moving to AA T8 and its T7 is going to Jet Blue. Lets hope AA builds out Terminal 8 to the original specs because its going to be a tight fit.
 
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SCFlyer
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:43 am

The old AA T8 had a large mural which IIRC was moved to Miami when the old T8 and old T9 (which started life as the DL/UA joint terminal before AA took over the building from NW and UA in the early 90s) were demolished.
 
global2
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:28 am

HermansCVR580 wrote:
Global2;

Thank you for the heads up on that book, I will have to see if I can find it, sounds like exactly what I am looking for. Yes I will be staying at the new TWA hotel so I’m very excited for that. I kick myself now passing up so many opportunities to fly into JFK when I was younger instead opting for LGA. I really enjoy how each airline had its onw style and flavor in their terminals at JFK, something we cannot experience as much nowadays.


I forgot that you can also visit the original Northwest/Northeast/Braniff terminal--T2 (Delta). I haven't been in there in years, and if the way Delta treated the Worldport before demolishing it is any indication, I wouldn't get my hopes up for its condition today. It was always a pretty spartan terminal compared to the others, but is notable for its "parasol" entranceway design.
 
questions
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:23 am

global2 wrote:
I haven't been in there in years, and if the way Delta treated the Worldport before demolishing it is any indication, I wouldn't get my hopes up for its condition today.


Your point of view is different from my understanding. I’m all for historic preservation and wish there could have been a way to renovate the original portion of T3 and incorporate it into a useable and economically viable space. Delta inherited T3 from its acquisition of Pan Am’s European routes and the terminal facilities were in worse shape than originally thought due to Pan Am’s lack of investment in maintening the terminal. Said another way, it was the way Pan Am treated the Worldport.

Delta poured millions into T3 without fully renovating the terminal to keep it operational while working with the Port Authority to build out T4. This was during the Leo Mullin era. That plan was shelved and Delta continued to pour millions into maintaining T3 until a new plan to build out T4 could be designed and funded — the current day T4B. Obviously Delta occupied T3 much longer than expected and spent millions more than anticipated just to keep it operational.

Fully renovating T3 and incorporating it into an economically viable space was cost prohibitive and operationally disadvantageous. Yes, T3 was riddled with problems including for example, from a passenger’s perspective, birds and water catchers and hoses to redirect rain water during storms due to a notoriously leaky roof. However to suggest that Delta mistreated the facility when in fact the company poured millions into it to try to keep it operational is inaccurate.

Please feel free to expand on your point of view.
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:07 am

I could understand love for the Pan Am and TWA terminals, Please don’t ever pretend to love the old international building.

No windows, old sterile hallways, public address system that didnt work. Bad setup.

Just one big mess. That being knocked down was the best thing that could ever happen to JFK
 
csavel
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:22 pm

jfklganyc wrote:
I could understand love for the Pan Am and TWA terminals, Please don’t ever pretend to love the old international building.

No windows, old sterile hallways, public address system that didnt work. Bad setup.

Just one big mess. That being knocked down was the best thing that could ever happen to JFK


Yep, the old IAB had all the charm of a bus station in Albany. It was embarrassing in the 70s!

And the Worldport had to go down because it was so neglected that it couldn't be saved. Frankly T2, like the IAB is a dump that should have met the wrecking ball 30 years ago. If the plans for JFK to create two (three) mega-termnals like other airports comes to fruition, that is a big win for JFK.

If people want to lament NY airport architectural losses, LGA's wonderful old Googie control tower hurts, hurts bad.
I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
 
HermansCVR580
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:38 pm

Yes the old LGA tower is really a shame, they should have found a way to save and incorporate into the new terminal. I took a picture this summer of what is left of that tower just to remember what was lost.

At JFK is there on main security area or is each terminal separate? I’m flying JetBlue so if I wanted to go to terminal 2 would I be cleared or would I need a Delta ticket to go there?
The right decision at the wrong time, is still a wrong decision. "Hal Carr"
 
RobertS975
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:29 pm

HermansCVR580 wrote:
Yes the old LGA tower is really a shame, they should have found a way to save and incorporate into the new terminal. I took a picture this summer of what is left of that tower just to remember what was lost.

At JFK is there on main security area or is each terminal separate? I’m flying JetBlue so if I wanted to go to terminal 2 would I be cleared or would I need a Delta ticket to go there?


Each terminal has its own dedicated security.
 
 
Cointrin330
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:01 am

Flew SR, AZ, VS (1990s until the opening of T1 where VS relocated to for a time) out of the IAB for years as a kid growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. It was an awful facility with few windows, low ceilings, and no real space. The only thing that stood out was the arrivals hall adjacent to the curb, that had flags from all the countries represented by the airlines using the IAB. There was also a large white display above the side gates that would flash "BOARDING" at, well, you guessed it, "BOARDING".
 
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ClipperYankee
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:14 am

I recall the IAB having an usual set up where from above you could see the passengers for a few brief moments just as they cleared customs. I think also remember a decent sized observation window near that area where you could see out to the apron? Might have been a snack bar there too, it's been too long. The flags and the big mobile are memories also.
707/717/727/737-100,200,300,400,500,700,800/747-200,300,400/757-200,300/767-300,400
772/788&9/DC3/DC6/DC8/DC9/DC10/MD80s/L1011/A300/A319,320,321/A332&3/A343/A359/A388/
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RollerRB211
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:06 am

SCFlyer wrote:
The old AA T8 had a large mural which IIRC was moved to Miami when the old T8 and old T9 (which started life as the DL/UA joint terminal before AA took over the building from NW and UA in the early 90s) were demolished.


The stained glass mural? That was broken up and sold in little pieces.
 
global2
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:31 am

There are some nice photos from a Life Magazine spread on this link. http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16750

If you search on Google Images for Idlewild Airport instead of JFK you'll come across many more.
 
HermansCVR580
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:14 pm

Those Life Magazine photos are amazing. Sure a whole different world there now. What a time that had to be, props were slowly being replaced by jets and the jet age was really starting to takeoff. JFK looks so small and not busy like how it is today, almost looks like a lazy Sunday out at some regional airport. What were those pools or ponds by the IAB all about?
The right decision at the wrong time, is still a wrong decision. "Hal Carr"
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:39 pm

They were reflecting pools surrounded by 3 chapels of various religions.

The flags outside the IAB of each country were also unique and stayed into the 90s.

The IAB was a weird setup where each checkin in area was unique with a nations flag...almost like mini consulate.

Each check in area had its own escalator that you took up to a door akin to a bathroom door. You pushed it open and entered the main concourse.

Upon entering the concourse, if you looked back at the door you just left, there was a sign (jutted out like a street sign from a pole) with the airline check in area you just exited.

The concourse was long with no windows. Every few gates had their own security like MCI today. The gate areas had no windows.

There was a cool airplane shop in the concourse.

In the 90s the terminal was devided into 4W (near the worldport) 4 (arrivals) and 4E (near TWA)

There was one level for arrivals and departures with departures in the East and West wings and arrivals in the center.

The PA ran and controlled the terminal

The whole thing was one big embarrassment to NYC and America in the 90s. It was a disgrace...and couldnt be razed quick enough.
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:42 pm

questions wrote:
global2 wrote:
I haven't been in there in years, and if the way Delta treated the Worldport before demolishing it is any indication, I wouldn't get my hopes up for its condition today.


Your point of view is different from my understanding. I’m all for historic preservation and wish there could have been a way to renovate the original portion of T3 and incorporate it into a useable and economically viable space. Delta inherited T3 from its acquisition of Pan Am’s European routes and the terminal facilities were in worse shape than originally thought due to Pan Am’s lack of investment in maintening the terminal. Said another way, it was the way Pan Am treated the Worldport.

Delta poured millions into T3 without fully renovating the terminal to keep it operational while working with the Port Authority to build out T4. This was during the Leo Mullin era. That plan was shelved and Delta continued to pour millions into maintaining T3 until a new plan to build out T4 could be designed and funded — the current day T4B. Obviously Delta occupied T3 much longer than expected and spent millions more than anticipated just to keep it operational.

Fully renovating T3 and incorporating it into an economically viable space was cost prohibitive and operationally disadvantageous. Yes, T3 was riddled with problems including for example, from a passenger’s perspective, birds and water catchers and hoses to redirect rain water during storms due to a notoriously leaky roof. However to suggest that Delta mistreated the facility when in fact the company poured millions into it to try to keep it operational is inaccurate.

Please feel free to expand on your point of view.



You are correct. It often gets overlooked that Delta really extensively redid T3 and it looked good for most of the 90s. It was classic and cool.

It was the 2000s, 10 years after moving in, that T3 really fell apart.
 
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william
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:47 pm

What was the thinking of each terminal getting a direct connector to Van Wyck freeway but not to each other. One cannot drive from one terminal to another. Took a shuttle to JFK and for ever terminal drop off we had to go back to VW freeway and do a U turn to go to another terminal.
 
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william
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:53 pm

https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011 ... y-airport/

I miss T6, it had a nice modern vibe to it.

More interesting info on how the name was changed.

https://www.6sqft.com/before-jfk-there- ... d-airport/
 
global2
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:15 pm

william wrote:
What was the thinking of each terminal getting a direct connector to Van Wyck freeway but not to each other. One cannot drive from one terminal to another. Took a shuttle to JFK and for ever terminal drop off we had to go back to VW freeway and do a U turn to go to another terminal.


It's a good question. Here is a reference to a book called "Naked Airport" by Alastair Gordon which goes into detail about how the "Terminal City" concept which was behind the design of Idlewild came to be:
https://books.google.com/books?id=UAfps ... ld&f=false

It turns out that original plans called for a single terminal with 55 gates, but airline executives rejected that idea fearing that there would be insufficient means for expansion. The new idea was for each major airline to design its own terminal, and to compete with each other by turning them into architectural showcases. The love affair with the automobile in the post war era also has a lot to do with how this concept came about. No transit link was planned (thank you Robert Moses) even though there were lines nearby.

In those days, aviation did not have the hub-and-spoke model that exists now. I would guess that each major airline expected the majority of passengers to transfer within their own airline, thus not needing to change terminals. Yet I can also imagine this caused its own problems because of the way international traffic was largely the domain of Pan Am and TWA. How did Europe bound passengers who originated in Cleveland, or Minneapolis for instance using one of the domestic carriers (AA, UA, DL, EA) and needed to change to PA or TWA, or a European carrier manage to transfer to those terminals? Shuttle buses? Taxi? It must have been a hassle.
 
global2
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:17 pm

william wrote:
https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/a-modern-masterpiece-no-longer-used-will-soon-disappear-at-kennedy-airport/

I miss T6, it had a nice modern vibe to it.

More interesting info on how the name was changed.

https://www.6sqft.com/before-jfk-there- ... d-airport/


It was beautiful when lit up at night when National was in there. I remember somehow Jet Blue changed the lighting and it became much harsher and cold.
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:38 pm

They were all connected by one ring road until the early 90s.

The port authority broke it up into 5 sections with a new roadway system.

The new plan restores the ring road again
 
jfk777
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:31 pm

It's time for Terminal 2 to go and a new marvelous T3 built on the old Pan AM site. JFK doesn't have an "international " terminal and needs one, I say this in name only since, obviously, most flights at JFK are international but fly with a hub airline(DL), use an alliance partners terminal( AA T 8) or use T1 built by four top foreign airlines. There is no "international terminal" for unaligned airlines or a Star alliance terminal, T1 is NOT a star alliance terminal.
 
HermansCVR580
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:59 pm

Talking about the “terminal city” idea that was mentioned when JFKwas first entering the jet age, i was searching for more photos and articles and I found one that mentioned the terminal city concept that included what looked like on airport property apartment style buildings no way it was a hotel, but these units were set back from the main terminal directly off off what was the IAB theywere connected to the airport, as mentioned in the article for the business executive that is on the go, Was this purposed and never built? Would be pretty exciting living at an airport.
The right decision at the wrong time, is still a wrong decision. "Hal Carr"
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: Former JFK international terminal and tower

Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:23 am

jfk777 wrote:
It's time for Terminal 2 to go and a new marvelous T3 built on the old Pan AM site. JFK doesn't have an "international " terminal and needs one, I say this in name only since, obviously, most flights at JFK are international but fly with a hub airline(DL), use an alliance partners terminal( AA T 8) or use T1 built by four top foreign airlines. There is no "international terminal" for unaligned airlines or a Star alliance terminal, T1 is NOT a star alliance terminal.



It absolutely has an intl terminal. It has and always will be Terminal 4. Home to orphan airlines and late night arrivals from all

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