Preservation Round-Up: The Stuck in the Snow Edition

Posted on: December 30th, 2010 by Jason Clement

A swooping Saarinen-designed beauty at JFK International. (Photo: Flickr User Pro-Zak)

Howdy, Nation! Here’s your Thursday installment of the Preservation Round-Up, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s twice-weekly digest of preservation news and notes from around the country.

Snarled snarled snarled – that’s probably how you’re describing this week if holiday travel plans brought you anywhere near a major airport. Thanks to the Great and Mighty Post-Christmas Snowpocalypse of 2010, which blanketed and then crippled swaths of the south and northeast in inches of white stuff, arrival and departure reader boards across the country have been lit up like the Vegas strip with the following messages: CANCELLED! NADA! DELAYED! FUGETABOUTIT!

And while being stuck is rarely fun, Caroline Stanley over at Flavorwire recently reminded us that some airports are in fact really beautiful (ahem, historic) places. Eero Saarinen's iconic 1962 TWA Flight Center at JFK International made her list, which overall is a nice mix of old and new architecture from around the world. And while most airports aren’t inspiring places (some are downright dreadful), keep this thought-provoking tidbit from an oldie but goodie issue of Preservation magazine in mind as you rush to your next gate or make a nest out of sweatshirts on the floor:

These days, we pass through airports as quickly as possible, suffering the long lines and flight delays and quick-tempered ticket agents with the knowledge that we'll end up somewhere else at the end of our travels, somewhere better. In our post-9/11 world, we ask only that our airports be safe, convenient, and easy to navigate. If they have free Wi-Fi, all the better. In an earlier, more innocent time, airports were places in which to linger, miniature cities that weren't just gateways to other places but exciting destinations themselves; the best-designed terminals inspired visitors who had no intention of leaving the tarmac to dream of takeoff and the skies. Many of today's airport terminals, with their high-end shopping and art installations, are striving to be, among other things, great public spaces once again.

Because of the surge of flight delays, some of you might be spending time in a city that isn’t home or your final destination. If that’s the case, we hope you’re eating your feelings in style. This week, Forbes shined a scrumptious little spotlight on America’s best historic restaurants, where diners dig in while surrounded by some amazing period architecture. Check it out – and get hungry.

In preservation news, New Orleanians are rocking the sticky notes and Miss Aretha Franklin, Stephen Decatur gets some ink in the blogosphere, Detroit's landmark park receives a civic intervention, and Brooklyn's brownstones are saved from demolition. Huzzah!

And now a housekeeping note: The end (of 2010) is near. That means it's time to reflect...and look forward. Preservation magazine gets us started with its annual best/worst list, National Trust staffer Priya Chhayna crafts her preservation resolutions, and a good handful of place-lovers share on Facebook what they want to save in 2011. Check it all out and join the conversation. And once you get fired up (you will), consider making a year-end gift to the National Trust. It will help ensure that 2011 is full of success stories for our little round-up.

And with that, enjoy your last Thursday of 2010 and have a hap-hap-happy New Year. And as always, if you have any tips, news, or otherwise preservation-related fluff, let us know by sending us links on Twitter and Facebook.

Jason Lloyd Clement is an online content provider for PreservationNation.org. His favorite historic airport terminal is Dulles International's beautiful Saarinen-designed edifice.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

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