Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

The Tragic End of the JFK Worldport(TM)

Sad News for Atompunks everywhere: the glorious Googie-style Pan Am Worldport(TM) terminal at JFK International Airport in New York is being demolished.

Despite a monumental effort by conservationists and enthusiasts, the UFO-like Space Age terminal is being demolished to make way for what I can only assume will be yet another souless corridor of carpet and bench-style seating occasionally interrupted by overpriced fast food chains and magazine shops.  Yet another reminder of aviation's glorious past comes crashing down.

This tragedy of architectural destruction, though undoubtedly based in practical commercial considerations, marks yet another loss of a modern style building making such Jet Age/Space Age architecture, much like Art Deco, an endagered species and a growing loss to our shared cultural heritage.

Alas, most of us only discovered this too late.  If you know of a unique building under threat, please share and spread the word.  They're worth saving.



Images from Paleofuture Blog on Gizmodo.  Original sources: JFK terminal in use from Life magazine and JFK terminal demolition from Twitter user @e_russell on July 21, 2013.

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Comment by Gadget Girl on April 15, 2014 at 9:55pm

Well, they wipe one out, but save another one, it seems?

Restoring MCM TWA terminal at JFK

Comment by Gadget Girl on March 1, 2014 at 6:36pm

About this building, it's almost unbelievable that they would tear anything down that had some kind of connection to "JFK." Perhaps, that, too, is changing-but it certainly isn't for the better, tragically.

On a local level, all of our elementary schools were built in the fifties, and it's just been announced that they want to hold a bond election. I plan to vote against this, because they mean to tear down the majority of these schools, and I think that's just insanity. They had hired some sort of "expert" who has said that they pretty much need to be trashed, but I don't believe that any more than I believe I can fly to the moon by flapping my own arms. Some of them have been in use for sixty years, but the fact that they are MCM means that they were built out of concrete, brick, and metal-so the foundation is still pretty solid, I'm sure. They just need to repair whatever needs to be repaired. All I can do is vote against it, though. Also, there is another building that was our original high school/junior high, that is probably almost a century old. My dad and my sister went to junior and senior high school there-and I went to high school there(my generation went to the newer, at the time, more MCM junior high built in the early sixties.) They chose, wisely, to remodel the old high school thirty or so years  and use it as the junior high, while building a new high school. Now they are wanting to abandon the old, historic high school. We already had one of our historic elementary schools get bandied about between the historical society, the city, and private groups. Meanwhile it fell into total disrepair. It had passed to private hands, and then some troubled, pyromaniac kid set it on fire, so all that was left was a charred brick skeleton of a school that a great deal of our population-from my dad's generation to my own-had passed through as kids. So, I think that bad experience is having an effect on the attitude of the community, and many are not wanting to see a building that has already been updated and is in use, abandoned. What it amounts to, really, is window dressing and "bragging rights" just to show some neighboring districts that "we" can keep up with the Jones' when it comes to financing "our children's future." It's not that I and the others that live here don't want to supply our kid and grandkids with a decent environment to learn in-but this is just not the way to go.

I wish that there was some way for those of us who care to band together and make a difference. I wish I were rich enough, and I'd at least start a foundation to try-but, sadly, I'm not.


Comment by Gadget Girl on March 1, 2014 at 6:10pm

I remember the odd shaped commercial architecture when I was a kid-but I had no idea it even had a name, Googie, until a few years ago. One of our last remaining "shopping centers" had this very mid-century shaped sign-with circles and spikes that looked straight out of The Jetsons. I think they finally replaced it. :(

Comment by Cap'n Tony on March 1, 2014 at 9:57am

Alas so, Gadget Girl. California is right now in a big battle to save its endangered Googie architecture from being demolished and replaced with strip malls. 

Comment by Gadget Girl on August 15, 2013 at 11:50pm

Comment by Gadget Girl 29 seconds agoDelete Comment

I do find this very sad, but not surprising. Somehow, this "space age" architecture just isn't getting the respect that it deserves yet. Sometimes I fear that its just the way of the world. I remember when they decided to start renovating Victorian houses in the 70's, as people had considered them just old eyesores, and had tried to modernize them by subdividing them into duplexes. They were doing this in the 30's and 40's, when the houses were fifty and sixty years old, so people just considered them old and out of date, and expendable. Younger people, though, started to appreciate them, and now I don't know of many people who would demolish a Victorian home unless its just past redemption. 

I remember when I was a kid that my little berg here in Texas, which has existed since the 1840's, I believe, decided to slap more contemporary facades on the old buildings as part of the "urban renewal" idea. Guess what they are doing now? Pulling off the old facades and sprucing up the old ones. Now, I don't mind this, as the facades were just that. However, I was chagrined when they demolished a perfect example of mid-century modern architecture when they demolished our first "motorbank," which I still have fond memories of driving through with my mom and getting a piece of bubble gum from the teller. The lady who was the drive-thru teller is, of course, retired now, and delivers my mom's "meals on wheels" dinner once a week. Why did they demolish it? Just like the song they had a few years ago-to "put a up a parking lot." To make it even worse, the building wasn't in bad shape, and even still had the furnishings inside. I hope that they at least sold them on ebay or something. 

Sad. Just...sad.

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