JFK Airport

Airports, airplanes & Alexander Calder

Courtesy Calder Foundation

July 22 was artist Alexander Calder’s birthday, giving us an excuse to share some photos of his work in airports and on airplanes.

The photo above is of Calder in 1957 inspecting the installation of his work originally titled .125, after the gauge of the aluminum elements in Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (then Idlewild Airport). The piece was later redubbed Flight.

Courtesy Library of Congress

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) also has a work by Alexander Calder in its collection. This piece is titled, appropriately enough, Pittsburgh.

Courtesy Pittsburgh International Airport

Calder’s work also appeared on Braniff International Airways airplanes in the mid-1970s.

The first was a Douglas DC-8 known as Flying Colors of South America. The second was a Boeing 727-200 named Flying Colors of the United States.

Courtesy of the Calder Foundation

To learn more about the airplanes Calder painted for Braniff, see this article from 2020 by Chris Sloan in Airways Magazine.

JFK loo a finalist in America’s Best Restroom contest

The finalists for the 2021 America’s Best Restroom contest. are out and we’re pleased to see a restroom in an airport on the list. That doesn’t happen very often.

Which airport makes the list this year?

JFK Airport’s Terminal 4, operated by JFKIAT, gets the nod.

The lavs on the list are located on the east side of the Customs Arrival Hall and are designed by Woods Bagot.

In the nomination write-up, the lavs are described as being easy to find, easy to clean, and very spacious at 900 square feet.

Framing the restroom entrance is a teal back-painted glass with graphics of iconic New York City landmarks. Mirroring the hue of the entrance, a teal penny tile feature wall draws users into the space. Inside, bright white terrazzo flooring, marbleized walls, and delicate wall sconces combine for a look and feel of understated elegance. Calcutta porcelain tile lines the women’s vanity area, and a thoughtful raised shelf behind the sink provides the perfect spot to freshen up after a long flight. Full height wood laminate partitions provide privacy and a touch of warmth to an otherwise clean, bright space.

Another restroom on the list of finalists is a portable toilet in Santa Rosa, CA inspired by tiny home cottages. This roadside rest stop contains a roomy restroom with vessel sinks, touchless faucets, air conditioning, heat, ambient music, adjustable color & dimmable lighting, countertop decor, and a hospitality tray with hand towels & other toiletries.

Also on the list is a word-filled restroom at Planet Word, a museum in Washington, D.C. devoted to words, language, and reading,

The contest celebrates innovative and hygienic public restrooms across the country and invites the public to vote for their favorite flusher. See the full list of 10 finalists and cast a vote before August 20. .

Roller skating at JFK Airport? Yup, at the TWA Hotel

Air travel is back on, but what about fun activities at airports?

That’s back on too. At least at New York’s JFK Airport, where the TWA Hotel adjacent to Terminal 5 is operating a summer roller rink next to the hotel’s 1958 Lockheed Constellation “Connie” airplane.

A 50-minute skating session costs $20 per adult and $16 for kids 12 and includes the skate rentals, although you can bring your own. Helmets are available for rent. The rink is cleaned between each session.

Sound like something you want to do? The TWA Hotel’s Roll-A-Rama ( great name, right?) is open Fridays from 4 PM to 8 PM and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 PM to 8 PM.  Tickets are on a first come, first served basis and capacity may be limited.

To help you get in the mood, here are some ‘by the numbers’ factoids about roller skating put together by the TWA Hotel.

Airport restrooms in the running for top toilet prize

As travelers, we are all too familiar with the search for a clean public restroom. We also know the delight of entering a public bathroom that is not just clean but blessed with quirk and charm.

Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, clean and super-sanitized public restrooms are even more important.

So, we are delighted to see restrooms at both Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and the Jamacia Station on JFK International Airport’s AirTrain people mover line are finalists in the 2020 America’s Best Restroom contest. 

Anyone can vote for the winning throne through October 19. The top toilets get a seat in America’s Best Restroom Hall of Fame and restroom cleaning services worth more than $2500 from contest sponsor Cintas.

Here are the finalists:

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

All gate-side restrooms at DFW Airport are now super ‘smart’.

The bathrooms have touch-free technology and the Tooshlights feature we’ve been raving about that uses red and green lights to indicate which stalls are open.

Digital signage outside each restroom lets passengers know how many stalls are open.

JFK’s AirTrain Jamaica Station – New York, NY

The new restrooms for the Jamaica Station stop on the AirTrain people mover at John F. Kennedy International Airport are nearly three times as large as the previous restrooms. As a nice bonus, the stalls are wide enough to accommodate luggage.

Bancroft Park – Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Bancroft Park restrooms have green, red and yellow lights to show availability. Soap, water, toilet paper, and a dryer are all touchless. Better yet, the restrooms self-clean after every 30 uses and an app lets the maintenance crew know when toilet paper or other supplies are running low.

Gaslight Bar & Grill – Cincinnati, OH

The Gaslight Bar & Grill in Cincinnati, OH is in a building that once served as a branch library. The restrooms have marble tile walls and gold wallpaper as well as touchless faucets and trash cans.

Greeley Square Park – New York, New York

The kiosk-like restroom at Greeley Square Park in NY is decorated with historic photographs and has classical music, rotating seat covers, a full-time attendant, Italian tile, fresh flowers, and an HVAC system for seasonal climate control.

Kimpton Muse Hotel – New York, New York

The Kimpton Muse Hotel restrooms invite guests and diners at the adjacent Muse Bar to pick a stall according to their personality or mood. There are six “sin-inspired” unisex stalls, each with a different theme and design: Glam, Vain, Rebel, Passion, Macho, and Envy.

Portland Japanese Garden – Portland, Oregon

All materials in the restroom at the Portland Japanese Garden – from the texture of the tiles to the design of the fixtures – are chosen for their standalone beauty, as well as functional works of art.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts – Scottsdale, Arizona

Standing ovation? These sleek and modern lavs have terrazzo flooring, glass-tiled walls, and plenty of spacious, stainless-steel stalls.

The lighting system can also be programmed for holidays, special events and specific audiences.

Swift’s Attic – Austin, Texas

Swift’s Attic restaurant in Austin has Gothic-style restrooms with floral-patterned sinks, antique light fixtures, and gold and black striped wallpaper.

The Guild Hotel – San Diego, CA

The Guild Hotel opened in 2019 in a century-old building built as a YMCA. Today the restrooms off the lobby have beautiful marble sinks with striking lighting, tiling and mirrors.

Travel Tidbits: Cool ANZ safety video, free museums, fun stuff

 

Happy Friday. Here’s hoping you have a great weekend of adventures planned.

Here are some travel tidbits that might be useful as you head out on the road.

Air New Zealand has a new in-fligh safety video it is calling “The World’s Coolest” – becuase it was filmed in Antarctica.

Pittsburgh International Airport gets arty

In addition to hosting a new paint-it-yourself art studio called Paint Monkey, Pittsburgh International Airport has appointed its first artist-in-residence. Blaine Siegel will have studio space at the airport for a year and during his residency he’ll interact with travelers and airport workers to better understand the airport environment. He’ll then produce an artwork that will be exhibited at the airport.

Visit museums free this weekend 

Thanks to the Museums on Us program, anyone with a Bank of America, Merrill Lynch or U.S. Trust credit or debit card can gain free entry to any of more than 200 museums, science centers and cultural attractions around the country this weekend – and on the first full weekend of every month. The full roster of participating venues can be found here.

Norwegian debuts female-driven in flight comedy channel

Norwegian has put together a female-driven in-flight comedy channel called PYPO (Put Your Pretty On), with Emmy-winner Stephanie Laing, that will be available on the airlines’ Dreamliner long-haul flights.  The channel will start with seven comedy sketches, totaling about 20 minutes, with more to come later this year.

Check out some samples here and here.

JFK Terminal has its own website

As a reminder that every terminal at New York’s JFK airport is pretty much its own world, JFK Terminal 4 now has its own website featuring an interactive terminal map, current information about security and taxi wait times, a FAQ section and tourist information. (T4 also has its own Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts).