Worldport (Pan Am)
The original configuration of the Pan Am Worldport at JFK airport, now known simply as Terminal 3
|Opening||May 24, 1960|
|Client||Pan American World Airways|
Terminal 3 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, formerly known by the trademarked name Worldport, was an iconic airport terminal built by Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) in 1960. It opened on May 24, 1960 and ceased operations on May 24, 2013; it was demolished in 2013.
The terminal was originally known as the "Pan Am Terminal" or Pan Am "Unit Terminal Building (UTB)." It was designed by Ives, Turano & Gardner Associated Architects and Walther Prokosch of Tippets-Abbett-McCarthy-Stratton as a showcase for international jet travel and is particularly famous for its 4-acre (1.6 ha) "flying saucer" roof suspended far from the outside columns of the terminal by 32 sets of pre-stressed steel posts and cables. The terminal was designed to allow for aircraft to be parked under the partial overhang; marketing brochures promoted that the jet-age terminal brought the plane to the passenger. The overhang sheltered passengers as they boarded the aircraft by stairs or by uncovered bridges. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Guide to New York City called the terminal a "genuine architectural attempt to answer the problem of all-weather connections to the planes" but derided the overall concept as "compromised by an overabundance of distracting detail".
The building's facade originally featured zodiac figures made by sculptor Milton Hebald, although these were later removed by the Port Authority. The terminal featured the Panorama Room, a dining room with a view of the entire concourse, and the Clipper Hall museum of Pan Am history.
In 1971, the terminal was expanded to accommodate the large Boeing 747 and renamed the "Pan Am Worldport". The Worldport was the world's largest airline terminal and held the title for several years.
Operation of the Worldport changed hands when Pan Am declared bankruptcy in 1991. Delta Air Lines acquired many of Pan Am's assets, including the lease on the Worldport, which became known simply as "Terminal 3", and operated most of its long-haul flights out of JFK to Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America from the building.
In March 2006, Delta COO Jim Whitehurst announced that Delta would spend US$10 million before the end of that year to renovate Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, including its public spaces, BusinessElite lounge, and Crown Room Clubs. In the July 2007 issue of Delta's Sky Magazine, Delta Senior Vice President Joanne Smith remarked on the "distinctive" saucer roof in an article on new flooring, lighting, and signage at this "historic airport".
On August 4, 2010, The New York Times reported that Delta was planning to move its international flights to Terminal 4 following the construction of nine additional gates in Concourse B of that terminal. Delta's domestic flights would continue to be operated out of Terminal 2. Terminal 3 would subsequently be demolished to create additional aircraft parking between Terminals 2 and 4. Construction of the Terminal 4 expansion began in November 2010 and was completed in May 2013.
On May 23, 2013 the final departure from Terminal 3, Delta Air Lines Flight 268, a Boeing 747-400 to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport, departed from Gate 6 at 11:25pm local time. The terminal ceased operations on May 24, 2013, 53 years to the day from when it opened on May 24, 1960. Demolition of the terminal began on June 23, 2013 and is expected to continue through 2014.
Preservation groups campaigned to save the building and have it nominated by the New York State Historic Preservation Office as a historic place. On June 19, 2013, the Worldport was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of 11 Most Endangered Places in America for 2013. But by June 25, 2013, demolition of the elevated roadway leading to the terminal had already begun, although preservationists continued to protest against the demolition of the building itself.
The New York State Historic Preservation Office, which had revoked the building's eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, upheld this decision in May 2013, claiming the building had lost significant historic integrity due to excessive modifications.
The preservation campaign was ultimately unsuccessful and demolition of the flying saucer section was completed on November 22, 2013. Demolition work on the remainder of the terminal is expected to continue into mid 2014.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation cited the Worldport as one of ten historic sites lost in 2013.
In popular culture
The Worldport has appeared in several films and publications.
- In the opening sequence of The Family Man, actor Nicolas Cage checks in at the Worldport for a Pan Am flight from New York to London.
- The 1986 Italian comedy film Il Burbero features a brief glimpse at the Worldport during the main character's taxi ride to the airport.
- The Pan Am Terminal appears in the opening scene of a 1962 episode of The Saint entitled The Covetous Headsman.
- The 1963 British comedy Come Fly With Me contains several scenes featuring the Pan Am Terminal.
- The Pan Am Terminal is featured in most episodes of the ABC television series Pan Am, as the show's Pan Am characters are based there.
- The September 22, 1961 issue of Life featured a photo essay of Idlewild Airport by Ukrainian-born photographer Dmitri Kessel. Many of the photos were of the newly built Pan Am Terminal.
- Vogue used the Pan Am Terminal as a jet age backdrop for its October 1960 fall fashion spread.
- "Save the Worldport". Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot; Leadon, Fran (2010). AIA Guide to New York City. Oxford University Press. p. 811. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- Knox, Sanka. "IDLEWILD SKYLINE GETS AN ADDITION; New Pan Am Terminal Looks Like Parasol to Motorists Approaching Airport", New York Times, June 3, 1960. Accessed October 28, 2008.
- Staff. "Outrage.(Pan American airport terminal in disrepair)", Architectural Review, December 2000. Accessed October 28, 2008.
- Boehmer, Jay (March 20, 2006). "Delta Air Lines To Surpass American In JFK Departures". Business Travel News. Retrieved 2011-07-20.
- Frischling, Steven. "Photographer". Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- "Save The Pan Am Worldport". Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- staff (January 5, 2014). "A look at 10 historic sites save, 10 lost in 2013". Associated Press as reported by the Post Crescent. p. F3.
- Clare Trapasso (June 25, 2013). "Preservationists fight to save Pan Am terminal 'Worldport' at JFK airport". New York Daily News. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
- Worldport, Save the. "2012 SHPO FOIL". Remembering the Pan Am Worldport. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
- Leslie, Thomas (2005). "The Pan Am Terminal at Idlewild/Kennedy Airport and the Transition from Jet Age to Space Age". Design Issues (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) 21 (1): 63–80. doi:10.1162/0747936053103048. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
Media related to John F. Kennedy International Airport Terminal 3 at Wikimedia Commons
- Pan Am Worldport history (archived 2011)
- Archival Port Authority photos
- Worldport Preservation Campaign