Back at the TWA Ambassador Club

On April 17th, a select group of media professionals donned TWA hardhats and toured the iconic Saarinen terminal at JFK led by Tyler Morse, CEO MCR and driving force behind the terminal restoration and the TWA Hotel project. On the tour Mr. Morse pointed out the innumerable details that made this building so unusual and outstanding. Having spent 32 years working in the terminal even I learned a few things and came to appreciate many aspects taken for granted. The obstacles involved in bringing this project to fruition, dealing with some 22 government agencies, 9 law firm and 124 consulting firms, did not deter Mr. Morse in his goal of restoring the 1962 Flight Center to its Jet Age glory. The terminal will have meeting spaces holding up to 1400 people, 6 restaurants and 8 bars, a fitness center and a museum devoted to TWA and the Jet Age.

Flanking the terminal will be the Hotel, 2 semi-circular buildings with 512 rooms, connected by the tubes with views of the runway and an observation deck and rooftop swimming pool.

After the tour we were transported to a Top-Secret location on the fringes of JFK by various vintage automobiles to see a full-scale mock-up of the hotel’s hallway and standard room. A flight attendant in a lime green vintage uniform directed us to Room 528, numbered in honor of the opening date of the Flight Center, May 28, 1962.

The hallways were carpeted in the TWA signature red and the doors were reminiscent of the old TWA walnut ticket desks. Stepping into Room 528 was like stepping back into the glorious swinging Jet Age of the 70’s, floor to ceiling windows with views of the runway, a red Knoll womb chair, next to a Saarinen pedestal table with a rotary dial phone. Hollywood style bathrooms were lit by bubble lights and had vintage TWA amenities. TWA posters and a glamorous glass and mirror bar stocked with high end beverages completed the luxurious feel.

Oh, and there’s a beautiful desk with a leather Saarinen chair should you wish to do a little work. As for me, dim the lights, turn on the Sinatra and chill the martinis. I’m going back to the 70’s and the glamorous Jet Age I remember.

After graduating from Bard College with a major in languages, Roberta spent a year in Germany and France before joining Trans World Airlines in the early 70’s. At TWA she became the Ambassador and Constellation Club supervisor at JFK. An interest in food fostered by her international travel lead to “Deliciously Dunn”, her catering and gift basket business for 20 years, while still working at TWA. After the demise of the airline, Roberta became the North American sales rep for La Source, a 5 star resort in Grenada. When hurricane Ivan destroyed the island, she went on to work for an airport news publication. Most recently Ms. Dunn is the Skating Director at the City of Long Beach, NY skating rink. Roberta is a US Figure Skating Gold Medalist in ice dancing and has skated since she was 17. Another of her passions is photography and her photos have been used in several publications. Roberta still travels extensively, enjoys cooking and entertaining and skates practically every day. She currently resides on Long Island with her husband Jim and a menagerie of cats.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Roberta, you certainly are a roll model for accomplishments & re-inventing oneself. Congratulations on all your accomplishments. Thank you for sharing your TWA story… past to present. Delightful read. I was at the ground breaking, now, anxious to see many dreams fulfilled!

  2. Peggy Mannen Theiss TWA 1969-1976

    OH THE WONDERFUL MEMORIES
    Great article. Many TWA FLIGHT ATTENDANTS live in New York and would love to be a part of the Grand Opening. Hopefully we will be asked to help in any way they might want us.
    We so appreciate Mr Morse’s dedication to our beautiful terminal❤️
    Peggy

  3. Great article Roberta. So looking forward to walking into our beloved Terminal and stepping back in time. Best regards.
    Diane Pulgrano Jenkins TWA JFK Personnel and Passenger Services 1973-1996

  4. Myra Glazer, TWA STL Reservations Office and Training Center Instructor, 1988-2000
    Wonderful article Roberta! Can not wait to walk through the fabulous Terminal and have the opportunity to stay at our own Hotel. So thankful Tyler Morse did this for us !!! Living in STL all my life has meant that I was a TWA lover before ever becoming an employee. My adoration for the airline was only heightened when I joined that great organization. Now our name will be forever in the public’s eyes. Up, Up, and Away.

  5. Congratulations Roberta for being a jack of all trades! I too have a degree in Art History and flew for TWA for 30 some years along with selling Real Estate in San Francisco and serving an many Boards through my career Recently Wrote “Wing Tip Shoes” Memoires of a Flight Attendant would love to have you contact me as I would love to have my book at the TWA terminal as I also flew out of there in addition to the Pacific routes out of LAX.

  6. I am so happy to have worked at TWA and had the opportunity to meet such great people. Roberta is a true symbol of what TWA represents. I cannot wait to walk thru the new terminal and tunnels. After visiting and touring TOWER ONE in the World Trade Center, memories of my 30 plus years as a flight attendant run thru my head. Congratulations to ROBERTA – one of TWA jewels.

  7. As a TWA Pilot ‍✈️ during that era I found your article most interesting and it brought back many memories. It was a different time in air travel and i miss it. I am anxious to visit when the project is completed.

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