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Pan Am Worldport listed on National Trust’s 11 Most Endangered Sites

June 23, 2013

LATEST NEWS: On Sunday, while crews were working at Terminal 3 on asbestos abatement and other pre-demolition preparations the front elevated roadway collapsed. Speculation is that this will trigger a more immediate start on demolition of the complete Worldport structure. Visit Save the Worldport on facebook or savetheworldport.org to follow events.

Attention being paid to the “doomed” Worldport at JFK Airport has mounted since we last reported on the terminal’s status in May. Major media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, have been covering the developments.

Interest in the flying saucer-like terminal, completed in 1960 for Pan American World Airlines, heated up last week after the National Trust for Historic Preservation released its annual selection of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites with Worldport, aka Terminal 3, on the list. In choosing to include the Worldport, the Trust stated that the terminal “symbolizes America’s entry into the Jet Age.”

But this likely won’t do much to change the Worldport’s date with the wrecking ball. To quote David Dunlap for the New York Times: “… ‘endangered’ may be an understatement. ‘Doomed’ is more like it.” Delta Airlines, owner of Terminal 3, recently moved its operations to a new expansion of Terminal 4 and has begun preparing the building for demolition. Delta has reportedly abandoned its earlier plan to have a connector between Terminals 2 and 4, rendering moot Worldport backers’—including DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State—argument that the core original structure of the Worldport could be incorporated into this connector as a venue for retail, restaurants, an exceptional Delta Sky Club, etc. Instead Delta plans to use the cleared site for idle aircraft that currently have to be towed to aircraft parking areas further from the two terminals.

The advocacy group Save the Worldport has been working for over two years to prevent the demolition and it isn’t stopping now. Representatives will be meeting with Port Authority of NY/NJ, which operates JFK Airport, and the National Trust on June 26. Also, a meeting with Delta officials is in the works. Both DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State and DOCOMOMO US have been participating in talks with the Port Authority as well as the New York State Office for Historic Preservation.

Visit Save the Worldport.org to sign the preservation petition.

It’s Terminal but Backers Hope to Keep Worldport at JFK Alive,” Wall Street Journal (June 19, 2013)
More Than Just ‘Endangered,’ a J.F.K. Terminal Is to Be Demolished,” New York Times (June 20, 2013)