11 Most Endangered Historic Places

TWA Terminal at JFK International Airport

Year Listed: 2003
Location: New York, New York
Threat: Development

twa_terminal_at_jfk.jpg

Photo: John Bartelstone and Beyer Blinder Belle

Significance

Since its completion in 1962, Eero Saarinen’s curvilinear TWA Terminal at New York’s JFK International Airport has been hailed as an icon of modern design. Its soaring, graceful form was meant to evoke the romance and excitement of flight, and even the smallest interior details -- ticket counters, chairs, signs, and telephone booths -- were designed to complement the gull-winged shell.

However, in 2003, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey wanted to demolish portions of the terminal and construct a hulking new terminal behind it. The proposed light rail system and the new structure would have blocked the TWA Terminal’s view of the tarmac and left Saarinen’s masterpiece isolated and functionally useless.