It is with deep sadness to report that despite all our efforts, Delta Air Lines and the Port Authority have demolished the historic Pan Am Flying Saucer Terminal.
Fueled by an estimated $50 million remediation and demolition contract, Gramercy Group's voracious bulldozers cold-heartedly toppled the Flying Saucer's final support beams on November 22, 2013 - the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It is a reprehensible insult to the great man for whom JFK International Airport was dedicated, not to mention the senseless murder of an architectural icon.
Though the building has fallen, our campaign was not fought in vain. We raised tremendous global awareness of the historic, cultural and architectural significance of this building and the many reasons to save it - reasons that far outweighed the few shortsighted excuses to destroy it.
Judging by the amazing support the campaign received, it is clear that Delta Air Lines and the Port Authority have made a terrible mistake - a mistake on the same scale as was made with the original Pennsylvania Station in New York City in 1963. History will prove this mistake will be equally shameful.
Indeed we are disappointed, yet we are not surprised at the outcome. We were summarily bulldozed by a cold, unfeeling corporation whose priorities are market share and profits, and by a dysfunctional government agency whose leaders' primary focus is playing politics, lining pockets, and causing traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge.
But wrecking balls, bulldozers and poor judgment cannot tear down our memories. While we must regretfully close the campaign, we will soon transform this site into a tribute page so that the memory of the legendary Pan Am Worldport will live on. And our Facebook community remains as active as ever, attracting new members who enjoy discussing aviation, the Worldport and Pan Am's glory days.
The campaign has been a challenging, yet fulfilling learning experience. We learned from, and deeply respect those who pursue historic preservation as a profession. We learned to celebrate the small victories and cope with the multitude of challenges, obstacles and disappointments. We brought together a community, and we met some great people along the way.
We are also working with several groups in the hope of restoring the famed Milton Hebald Zodiac Sculpture - the only remaining portion of the original Flying Saucer that remains intact. The Port Authority has promised a "tribute" to the Worldport, and we are pushing for the Milton Hebald Zodiac to be its centerpiece.
Watch this space for further updates soon...
"When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." --George Santayana
July 20, 2013
To supplement our recent press release and ad in the New York Times, our core team has compiled a document called "What Delta and the Port Authority Aren't Telling You" that puts forth several compelling arguments against Delta and the Port Authority's decision to demolish the Worldport. Both Delta and the Port Authority have made vague claims about jobs and traveler benefits that they've never backed up with actual facts. It's unfortunate that the public buys into these claims without challenging them.
Click below to view:
July 19, 2013
Our crowdfunded ad has made it to today's edition of the New York Times on page A18! Many thanks to all 163 contributors who made it happen.
If you are here because you saw the ad and would like to learn more and take action, please take a moment to read our Mission Statement and the History of this fascinating building. Check the FAQs page as some of your questions may already have been answered. Make your voices heard by contacting Delta Air Lines and the Port Authority on the How You Can Help page. Very little time is left to save this building, as demolition is well underway.
We will continue to update this entry over the course of the weekend so please check back often.
July 18, 2013
We got word from the New York Times that our ad will likely appear tomorrow, July 19, 2013.
Additionally, some of our Facebook members who work at or have passed through JFK have been sharing some extremely heartbreaking photos of the demolition so far. Please see our Facebook page for details. Is this how government agencies and billion dollar corporations respect our heritage?
July 14, 2013
Many thanks to everyone who contributed to our crowdfunding campaign. We raised over $7600 towards advertising and we anticipate the finished New York Times ad will appear late this week.
Sadly, no stoppage of demolition activity. Many sections of roof slab are now missing.
July 10, 2013
Using some of the crowdfunding revenue, we put out our own press release, which was picked up by over 250 news and media outlets worldwide! The release pitches our crowdfunding effort and discusses some of the issues surrounding the preservation effort.
View the release here:
Meanwhile, it seems that demolition activities on the rotunda and roof are fully underway despite our best efforts to request a temporary suspension to discuss alternatives.
July 4, 2013
Even if we are not successful in saving the building, we want our message to be seen by millions.
Delta Air Lines, with the Port Authority's blessing, is destroying history.
Today is July 4, 2013 - a day of celebration for the United States. The Worldport was not only a Jet Age airline terminal, but it was also a celebration of American pride and optimism.
Fifty years ago, the original Beaux-Arts Penn Station was demolished amid controversy and protest. New York City never got over it. Help us tell Delta and the Port Authority not to repeat the same tragedy that befell Penn Station 50 years ago.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -George Santayana
June 26, 2013
We made another appearance at today's Port Authority public session. Special thanks to Roberta Lane of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for her comments, as well as our regular supporters for being there. The announcement of the Trust's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list has generated an unbelievable outpouring of support from all around the globe as well as non-stop media coverage. We understand that even former NJ governor Jon Corzine is aware of the campaign and has endorsed his support! The campaign has been very influential and perhaps even a threat to some, as to draw out public opposition as well.
Watch the board meeting video for details here (Board Meeting 06/26/2013):
Despite all our efforts so far, Delta Air Lines has refused to engage us in any discussions. We have tried to approach them in a professional manner, but they haven't had the decency to make any effort to communicate with us whatsoever and have decided to proceed with demolition. Machinery is already being mobilized onto the roof.
We also want to make everyone aware of a press release that was issued just hours after the public board meeting. The press release, presumably made jointly by Delta Air Lines and the Port Authority, though sourced only by Delta, states that "JFK Terminal 3 site redevelopment will move forward, benefiting traveling public, region and job creation."
June 19, 2013
Incredible news! The National Trust for Historic Preservation has selected the Worldport as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2013! We are thrilled by the announcement and hope it will continue to bring much-needed awareness to the campaign. But we also note the word "endangered" because the fate of the building is still uncertain at this time. That the National Trust has selected the Worldport sends a clear message that the building not only possesses historic, architectural and cultural significance, but has the potential to be saved and restored with the right vision, planning and investment. With this announcement, we hope to continue working with the Port Authority and Delta Air Lines on a sensible plan to save this historic landmark.