Terminal Silhouettes: JFK



As of the time of this writing, JFK was the last remaining airport I’d visited that I hadn’t yet created a terminal silhouette for. I saved it for last because I knew it would be a difficult silhouette to draw, and I wanted as much practice as possible with other airports before getting into this one.

Instead of functioning as one single passenger airport, JFK effectively acts as six individual airports, all sharing a common set of runways. This was by design – airlines (or consortia of airlines) were each given their own space and allowed to build their own terminals. Over the years, a number of terminals have been built and demolished, leaving six currently.

The six current terminals, overlaid over recent Google Earth imagery. Note how none of them look anything like each other.

Because of that, each terminal design is unique relative to the others, which meant there were very few graphical elements I could carry over between each terminal – each one effectively had to be drawn from scratch.

I think my favorite part of drawing this airport was the sunshade over the entrance to Terminal 2:

Normally I don’t include sunshades unless they’re particularly prominent or architecturally interesting, and I think this qualifies as both. It’s a 3-by-8 grid of adjacent octagons – but if you look closely, the grid is slightly curved. Thus, I had to use the imagery to find the center point of the imaginary circle that this grid was curved around, draw some radial guidelines from that point, and calculate the angle that I had to rotate each column of three octagons.

As mentioned above, I’ve now drawn a terminal silhouette for every airport I’ve visited to date. From here, I plan to go back and update a few terminals that have changed since I’ve drawn them (ICT and CVG have each torn down an old terminal), and I’ll draw terminals for new airports that I visit. If I have time, I may redraw some of my earliest terminals, as I’ve noticed a lot of minor mistakes I made in those silhouettes as a novice.



My Airport History: New York-JFK and LaGuardia (LGA)

Flight Log:

As often as I travel, I haven’t had much occasion to visit New York City, so JFK and LGA are substantially underrepresented on my flight log.

I’ve only deliberately visited New York twice – in 2008/2009, I flew into JFK and out of LGA, and in 2014, I did the opposite, flying on to Boston as part of a multi-city trip. Of course, later on in that trip my return layover was through EWR, and I got stranded overnight, leading to an unexpected extra visit to New York City.

My Airport History: Cleveland (CLE)


Flight Log: http://www.flighthistorian.com/airports/CLE

Nearly every time I’ve flown through Cleveland, I didn’t want to; one time when I did want to, I couldn’t.

My first trip through CLE was traveling from a family Christmas party in Chicago to visit a friend in New York for New Year’s week. I’d been hoping to find a direct flight between the cities, as I wasn’t yet looking to visit new airports, but a direct flight cost six times as much as flying through Cleveland on American Airlines. Cleveland wasn’t even an American hub, but their schedule that day had a single regional jet fly from O’Hare to Cleveland and then from Cleveland on to JFK, which ended up being the first known time I’ve flown on the same aircraft twice.

Cleveland's giant
Cleveland’s giant “paper” airplanes

It took over four years before I would visit the airport again; I had a trip home from Oklahoma City through Denver to Dayton, but the OKC-DEN leg was delayed and caused me to miss my second flight. United only has one DEN-DAY flight per day, so they offered me a second layover in Cleveland.

A few months later, I actually intentionally booked a flight with a layover in Cleveland, but my flight to Cleveland was cancelled, and I got put on a flight to O’Hare instead. So it was with great astonishment that for my next trip to St. Louis, I booked a Cleveland layover… and actually ended up with a Cleveland layover!

Well, my intentionally-flying-to-Cleveland streak apparently wasn’t meant to last.

It’s unlikely that I’ll see much more of Cleveland in the future; United has dehubbed the airport, which means that CLE no longer serves my home airport of Dayton. CLE is about a three hour drive away from home, which leaves it in the awkward position of being too close to fly to as a destination, but too far away to act as a practical origin airport, particularly with DAY, CMH, CVG, and IND all within two hours of home.