JFK could be getting its own mini "High Line," on top of JetBlue's expansion of Terminal 5, the Times reported today. The addition of the mini-park to the terminal (called Terminal 5i) is intended to bring a similar feel of recreation and relaxation to a place devoid of such leisures: the airport.
The main purpose of JetBlue's $200 million, 150,000 square foot extension of Terminal 5 was to give their International arrivals an in-terminal customs check-point, previously only available at Terminal 4. The architect of the project, Ty Osbaugh, said that a passenger without checked bags will soon be able to "get from a plane through baggage claim and out of the terminal in just 28 minutes."
Getting out of the airport as fast as humanly possible is usually everyone's priority, but why rush? Osbaugh wants to do even more with the terminal's add-on. He intends to create a whole new mentality of arrival, what he called, a "celebration."
Here's how he (accurately) described the dismal nature of getting off a plane: "You've just arrived from a long flight, and your plane slowly taxis to its gate. Inevitably, you must wait for several minutes while fellow passengers sort out their disheveled belongings, and remove over-stuffed bags from overhead compartments. As you alight from the plane, your first impression of your destination is the jetbridge, a dank, unforgiving metal box that may or may not be watertight. Within this artificially-lit, un-conditioned tube, you encounter the distinct possibility of getting wet or stumbling over a wheelchair."
His design includes gentle sloping ramps and sunlit passages for the bleary-eyed traveler, and would be the only outdoor space in any of the terminals at JFK. Osbaugh told the Times that it would look "a lot like the High Line, but not quite that industrial." It provides a place inside security checkpoints to walk dogs, and they're considering serving food and drinks. It's a roof with some grass. It's JUST LIKE the High Line!
This isn't JetBlue's first homage to New York's architecture. When the airline moved from Terminal 6 to Terminal 5 in 2008, they chose iconic structures to emulate. According to their blog, the latticed cables that hold a ring of TVs about the Marketplace is "a nod to the same elements on the Brooklyn Bridge." And the "grandstands in the Marketplace are meant to evoke the people-watching steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Public Library." They've even held concerts in their Live from T5 concert series with past performers like Estelle, Robyn and Taylor Swift.
Terminal 5i opens to travelers on Wednesday and the rooftop will open sometime next year.