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I visited the long-awaited TWA Hotel at JFK airport, and it's a must-see for travel nerds, aviation geeks, and history buffs

Wednesday was opening day for the TWA Hotel.

Wednesday was opening day for the TWA Hotel.
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The TWA Hotel was built in the classic TWA Flight Center, which is next to JFK's newer Terminal 5.

The TWA Hotel was built in the classic TWA Flight Center, which is next to JFK's newer Terminal 5.
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The original Flight Center makes up the hotel's massive lobby, restaurants, and lounges, with guest rooms off in other connected buildings

The original Flight Center makes up the hotel's massive lobby, restaurants, and lounges, with guest rooms off in other connected buildings
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A prolific feature of the lobby is a vintage-style split-flap sign board — also known as a Solari board, after the company that makes them. While it doesn't show live flight times, it's still fun to watch and helps set the atmosphere.

A prolific feature of the lobby is a vintage-style split-flap sign board — also known as a Solari board, after the company that makes them. While it doesn't show live flight times, it's still fun to watch and helps set the atmosphere.
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Over in the "arrivals" area...

Over in the "arrivals" area...
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You'll find the front desk. There are self-serve kiosks, although the desks will be staffed with attendants as well. These are the original kiosks from when passengers would check in to TWA flights — obviously, the self-service computerized parts on top are new.

You'll find the front desk. There are self-serve kiosks, although the desks will be staffed with attendants as well. These are the original kiosks from when passengers would check in to TWA flights — obviously, the self-service computerized parts on top are new.
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There are stacks of blank key cards on top of each kiosk, waiting to be programmed for your room.

There are stacks of blank key cards on top of each kiosk, waiting to be programmed for your room.
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There's a conveyor belt for luggage running behind the check-in kiosks. During the TWA days, this took checked bags to the planes. Today, it leads to a luggage storage room for people who are checking in before their rooms are ready.

There's a conveyor belt for luggage running behind the check-in kiosks. During the TWA days, this took checked bags to the planes. Today, it leads to a luggage storage room for people who are checking in before their rooms are ready.
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There are a few boutique retail outlets in the hotel. This stylized newsstand is more for overnight essentials, but there's also a shop around the corner selling TWA merchandise (I wasn't able to access it when I was there)...

There are a few boutique retail outlets in the hotel. This stylized newsstand is more for overnight essentials, but there's also a shop around the corner selling TWA merchandise (I wasn't able to access it when I was there)...
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A Shinola shop...

A Shinola shop...
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...And a Warby Parker boutique.

...And a Warby Parker boutique.
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Towards the back of the building, the "Sunken Lounge" offers a comfortable and spacious place to have a seat, and maybe a cup of coffee or a drink.

Towards the back of the building, the "Sunken Lounge" offers a comfortable and spacious place to have a seat, and maybe a cup of coffee or a drink.
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The Paris Cafe, run by restauranteur Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is the hotel's flagship restaurant. It's scheduled to open Wednesday night.

The Paris Cafe, run by restauranteur Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is the hotel's flagship restaurant. It's scheduled to open Wednesday night.
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There are some smaller eateries and cafes, too, including the London Club and the Lisbon Lounge ...

There are some smaller eateries and cafes, too, including the London Club and the Lisbon Lounge ...
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... with a ton of comfortable seating.

... with a ton of comfortable seating.
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Then, there's the main attraction: The Connie, a 1958 Lockheed Constellation L-1649A that's been converted into a cocktail bar.

Then, there's the main attraction: The Connie, a 1958 Lockheed Constellation L-1649A that's been converted into a cocktail bar.
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You enter the Connie, a restored TWA aircraft in the airline's original livery, just like you would have if you were taking a flight.

You enter the Connie, a restored TWA aircraft in the airline's original livery, just like you would have if you were taking a flight.
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At the very back of the plane, there's a full-service bar.

At the very back of the plane, there's a full-service bar.
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There are a few different seating options, including restored aircraft seats, and regular tables. According to a representative for Gerber Group, which operates the lounge, some of the furniture still needs to be installed ...

There are a few different seating options, including restored aircraft seats, and regular tables. According to a representative for Gerber Group, which operates the lounge, some of the furniture still needs to be installed ...
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... But the airplane seats are a permanent fixture. For anyone wondering why you'd want to sit on a plane when you're not actually flying, keep in mind that these aren't the slimline plane seats we've grown used to. These are comfortable and padded, and a fun throwback to what flying used to be like.

... But the airplane seats are a permanent fixture. For anyone wondering why you'd want to sit on a plane when you're not actually flying, keep in mind that these aren't the slimline plane seats we've grown used to. These are comfortable and padded, and a fun throwback to what flying used to be like.
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You can also take a seat in the cockpit, which has been left more-or-less as-is.

You can also take a seat in the cockpit, which has been left more-or-less as-is.
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There's a live radio feed from one of JFK's air traffic control frequencies, and anyone — kids or adults — can sit in the original pilots' seats.

There's a live radio feed from one of JFK's air traffic control frequencies, and anyone — kids or adults — can sit in the original pilots' seats.
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There's TWA memorabilia all over the hotel ...

There's TWA memorabilia all over the hotel ...
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... including classic uniforms ...

... including classic uniforms ...
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... and reproductions of vintage posters.

... and reproductions of vintage posters.
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There's also 50,000 square feet of event space, including social areas outside of the conference rooms (which were mostly still being painted and furnished).

There's also 50,000 square feet of event space, including social areas outside of the conference rooms (which were mostly still being painted and furnished).
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Sadly, I wasn't able to get access to one of the hotel's coolest novelties, a roof deck and infinity pool overlooking the tarmac.

Sadly, I wasn't able to get access to one of the hotel's coolest novelties, a roof deck and infinity pool overlooking the tarmac.
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The hotel has 512 rooms and suites. I toured a standard king room, the base-level accommodation, which looked bright, airy, and comfortable.

The hotel has 512 rooms and suites. I toured a standard king room, the base-level accommodation, which looked bright, airy, and comfortable.
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While there's definitely still work to be done ...

While there's definitely still work to be done ...
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The TWA Hotel is a creative, fun use of a classic building, and looks like it will be a fantastic place to stay — allowing for any initial bumps as it begins its first operations.

The TWA Hotel is a creative, fun use of a classic building, and looks like it will be a fantastic place to stay — allowing for any initial bumps as it begins its first operations.
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