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A 1950s TWA airplane took over Times Square this weekend

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When the TWA Hotel opens, “Connie” will be transformed into a cocktail lounge

A decommissioned 1958 Lockheed Constellation, once used by TWA, was on display in Times Square over the weekend.
Max Touhey

One of the most anticipated hotel openings of the year is almost here. The TWA Hotel is scheduled to debut in just over a month, giving both out-of-towners and New Yorkers the opportunity to go inside one of NYC’s most iconic buildings: The TWA Terminal, designed by Eero Saarinen and a triumph of Jet Age architecture.

When the hotel opens, it’ll celebrate TWA’s midcentury heyday with nifty vintage amenities, including a mini-museum of TWA ephemera curated by the New-York Historical Society, and a revamped Paris Café helmed by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. But perhaps the coolest is a refurbished 1958 Lockheed Constellation aircraft, which will be turned into a cocktail bar.

Max Touhey

But before it permanently docks in Queens, that aircraft—known as “Connie”—took a ride through Times Square, parking at Broadway and 45th Street for the weekend, and meeting such neighborhood luminaries as the Naked Cowboy and Elmo (yes, really). In 1959, a billboard touting the then-new Constellation was installed in Times Square; Connie’s return on Saturday and Sunday brought everything full circle.

A 1959 billboard in Times Square announcing the Lockheed Constellation, known as “Connie.”
Photo by Ken Peacock/Courtesy of MCR Development

The plane’s Manhattan jaunt was orchestrated as part of a documentary being produced about the hotel, and the renovation of Saarinen’s circa-1962 terminal building. But it also gave curious onlookers the chance to see the massive aircraft, which was in use by TWA for just a few years, and has lived many lives since then. MCR purchased the plane in 2018, intending to use it as a lounge for hotel guests, and has since refurbished it with the help of Atlantic Models and Gogo Aviation.

Max Touhey

Rooms are, as of this writing, still available for the hotel’s May 15 soft opening—the first day that people will be able to see Connie inside and out.