A mental health day at TWA Hotel

Taking a scheduled mental health day, “Treat yo-self” day or whatever you want to call it is smart thinking.

We all put high demands and expectations on ourselves in both our work and social lives.

Based on a study by the World Health Organization anxiety and health disorders cost more than a trillion dollars globally in lost productivity. (Naveen R. Mental health in the workplace: World Mental Health Day 2017).

For me, when I come to NYC it is usually work mixed with social. Anyone who returns to a former “Home” city can relate—it is great to see old friends and visit former “haunts” but you run yourself tired each day.

I found myself rushing to the airport from lunches, meetings or site visits, cramming every last minute into something I labeled as “productive” time management. Then it is the process of going thru security, the tedious boarding ritual and settling into your seat for the next 8 to 10 hours. The frequent travelers out there will tell you regardless of what class you’ve booked yourself in, it is never entirely comfortable. I would recommend European or Asian based airlines while we are discussing the topic of transatlantic travel but that’s another whole post.

A scheduled Mental Health day can mean different things to different people. For me, it’s escaping entirely and managing my “airport stress” after a busy work and social trip to New York. Scheduling your mental health day in advance removes the stress of other obligations. You’ve planned for this so your deliverables, both work and social have been scheduled around it.

Where do I hide out? Well, since opening, I love the TWA hotel at JFK airport. It’s a throwback to the golden age of jet set travel. Meticulously designed to reflect the visionary work of Eero Saarinen, the hotel brings you back to celebrate the 1960s. Saarinen only lived to age 51, yet he is one of the most impactful designers in America. From the Tulip table, to the St Louis Gateway arch, his design reflects the American ethic in the 1950s and 1960s . He was born in Finland when it was still part of the Grand Russian Empire, but became a US citizen, living the true promise of being an American Immigrant.

From the music being piped in, to the cocktails, and over-all design you are transported to an era where being jet set was a life-calling. I couldn’t help but to envision the screaming chaos of thousands of teens as The Beatles landed when “Help” came on the playlist. I would have been one of those teens had I been alive then for sure.

In my case, being a fan of Architecture, 1960s and travel, this hotel addresses quite a few passions. We traveled thru this airport terminal as a child, and when I moved to NYC I arrived via TWA to this terminal. The personal connection is important to me.

The rooms are quiet, and you can lay in bed watching planes take off. But there’s too much to enjoy elsewhere in the hotel.

There’s outdoor rollerskating, a refurbished Constellation plane that doubles as bar. This plane is like the one my father flew when he immigrated from Italy to the United States-so there’s a nice personal connection for me. He would often talk about this flight—his first transatlantic recalling how many refueling stops they made and the loud and smokey propellor engines.

My favorite place to chill is the roofdeck pool. There’s really nothing like it. What I love about the hotel is that you can extend your room for a small fee. On my most recent visit, I was chilling at the pool all day, enjoying bar food snacks. I went to my room to shower and re-pack, had a nice early dinner at the Paris café and took the air train to my departing terminal totally relaxed.

I highly recommend the TWA Hotel as a stay-cation or that much needed mental health day. It’s fantastic for your last night in NYC if you are visiting, a real quiet retreat while still enjoying the city in a unique way.

Photo credits: Self

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