Lonely Planet Writer

Inside the retro 1960s TWA Lounge open at One World Trade Center

As construction of the TWA Hotel is taking off at New York City’s JFK Airport, the brand recently unveiled the new TWA Lounge, perched on the 86th floor of One World Trade Center.

The TWA lounge on the 86th floor. Image by Jesse David Harris

The TWA Lounge at 1WTC in Lower Manhattan is meant to be a sales center for the TWA Hotel, but it’s also a retro museum. The sleek space channels the same aesthetic as Eero Saarinen’s iconic 1962 terminal, with rounded walls to mirror the curved design of the world-renowned architect’s flight center. Taking inspiration from the Jet Age era, there’s TWA Memorabilia like branded cigarettes and carry-on bags, a collection of original David Klein prints, and vintage flight attendant uniforms exhibited.

The collection includes a library of historic design and branding books, iconic TWA flight hostess uniforms. Image by Emily Gilbert

A reception desk and analog departures display were also specially constructed to recall the distinct mid-century design aesthetic. Beverage carts are stocked with Tab (the diet soda popular in the 1960s) and Champagne, and bold red banquettes face floor-to-ceiling windows offering sweeping views of Brooklyn and Manhattan, while a telescope points directly at the TWA Hotel at JFK in Queens.

Ambassador service dinnerware was used in First Class on TWA flights in the 1960s. Image by Jesse David Harris

Meanwhile, the TWA Flight Center Hotel construction at JFK is underway, with a promise to maintain the mid-century glory of the original Saarinen terminal which it will inhabit. The hotel will have 505 guest rooms (including 483 rooms and 22 suites), 8 restaurants, 6 bars, and a 10,000 square foot public observation deck. A museum highlighting New York as the birthplace of the Jet Age, TWA, and the Mid-century Modern design movement will also be on premises.

The new hotel was previously a terminal that closed in 2001. Image by Max Touhey

After opening in 1962, the TWA Flight Center, designated a NYC Landmark in 1994 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, closed its doors in 2001. The redesign is helmed by MCR Development, one of the country’s largest hotel owners, in partnership with JetBlue, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and is expected to be completed in 18 months. Until then, the TWA Lounge will be open by appointment.