Days Of Future Past

Thursday, 21 January 2016, 21:24 | Category : Architecture, Urban Exploration
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TWA Terminal, JFK

Once upon a time, there was an airline called Trans World Airlines, or TWA. And once upon a time, this airline built a futuristic terminal in New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, just in time for the New York World’s Fair.

It was a different time in America, a time when architecture made grand statements about more than just the prospective content of the building. And this terminal definitely made a statement. Even during construction, it was distinctive:

Now, I hate flying through JFK, based on admittedly a small sample size (going to England last summer and coming back). The terminal we went through was hot, the security lines were very slow (and hot!), the lines were long. But I would have loved to go through the TWA terminal. It was just such a cool place, and from what I’ve read was pretty well designed, able to move passengers through rather efficiently. (Of course, in the 1960s there were fewer passengers to handle!). In other places, the red carpet and seats might seem too much, but in this place they were perfect:

Unfortunately, it closed when TWA disappeared in 2001. Recently Jet Blue announced they were going to develop what’s left into a hotel (apparently some parts have been torn down), and hopefully they’ll preserve the look and feel, but it won’t be the same. Fortunately there are several sites that have made photographic explorations of it and preserved the terminal in it’s modernistic glory. Here’s one, with lots of pictures:

Explore the TWA Terminal, a Pristine Time Capsule From 1962

Up, up, and away!

Still Underground: Abandoned Subway Stations

Wednesday, 8 May 2013, 9:15 | Category : Architecture, Underground, Urban Exploration
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Subways fascinate me. I’d never ridden on a subway until the early 90s, when I had to travel frequently to Washington for my job, and I got very familiar with the Metro, since I averaged being in DC about once a month for 3-4 years. Later I had the chance to ride the “L” in Chicago (I know, it’s mostly elevated, but it’s underground in some places), and New York’s subway. And somewhere along the way, I heard about abandoned stations underground. Maybe the most famous is New York’s City Hall Station:

This station was opened in 1904, and was supposed to be the crown jewel of the subway system, but was closed in 1945 when new, longer cars made the curved platform dangerous because of the gap between the platform and the new cars (You can read more here). But it really was a beautiful bit of architecture:

City Hall Station
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Staying With The Underground Theme

Sunday, 5 May 2013, 20:41 | Category : Architecture, Underground, Urban Exploration
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Some sort of ancient temple, maybe? Or the set of a science-fiction movie? Actually, it’s part of a massive underground stormwater system in Tokyo. And when I say massive, that’s exactly what I mean: “five 32m diameter, 65m deep concrete containment silos, connected by 64 kilometers of tunnels 50 meters deep underground”. In times of heavy rains and swollen rivers (Tokyo has several), the city can pump 200 tons of water every second with huge turbines like this:

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