JFK Worldport Preservationists Kick off Crowdfunding Campaign as Port Authority, Delta Air Lines Proceed with Plans to Demolish Iconic Terminal

Jul 10, 2013, 14:15 ET from Save the Worldport

Social Media Blitz Keeps Issue Alive

NEW YORK, July 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As jackhammers began to chip away at the iconic umbrella-shaped terminal at JFK International Airport, its defenders launched an eleventh hour crowdfunding campaign to publicize the impending loss of the historic Jet Age building.

On July 4, 2013, Save the Worldport turned to Indiegogo, an online crowdfunding platform to campaign for an ad in the New York Times. The ad will raise further awareness of the building's significance, will address claims made by the Port Authority and Delta surrounding jobs and other issues, and will urge the public to stand up to the two organizations in support of saving the historic building. The fundraising campaign is expected to run until July 14 and has already raised over $5,000. Contributors can find a link to the fundraising page via the group's SaveTheWorldport.org website.

Kalev Savi and his Save the Worldport group have been advocating for only the rotunda section with its signature umbrella roof to be saved, while they concur the rest of the terminal can be torn down to meet expansion needs. "It only consumes four of the 48 acres on the Terminal 3 site, so land constraint should be a non-issue," claims Savi. "The former TWA terminal was saved, and we feel the rotunda is equally significant in terms of historic, architectural and cultural merit, and after renovations, can be put back into revenue-generating use."

"Right now our best approach is to raise even more awareness," says the group's co-founder and organizer Anthony Stramaglia. "The ad will argue that Delta and the Port Authority can find a workable solution to save the building, which will not only benefit historic preservation, but will create even more jobs." Stramaglia says the ad will run whether the building stands or falls because the group feels an injustice is being done.

On June 19, 2013, the Worldport was named in the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The announcement generated intense media coverage and interest in saving the building. The NTHP plays an influential role in advocating for preservation of historic sites, but has no legislative authority to stop demolition.

Despite worldwide attention, crews have already started dismantling the iconic roof. Savi hopes the effort will attract the attention of a prominent business or political leader to call for a stop in demolition a while a suitable rescue plan can be negotiated. Says Savi, "There's no reason why the rotunda and roof cannot wait a few weeks while alternatives are discussed; crews can continue on other parts of the terminal so no jobs are jeopardized."

Savi notes how his group's effort parallels that of groups who tried to save the original Penn Station 50 years ago. "Many New Yorkers still regret the loss of Penn Station," he says. "It's a classic example of the line 'You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone' and we fear history will repeat itself with the Worldport." He also notes preservation efforts led by prominent figures have a much greater chance of success. Savi refers to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' role in saving Grand Central Terminal - New York's other historic railroad station that was ultimately spared from the wrecking ball.

The iconic terminal opened in May 1960 and was the home of legendary Pan American World Airways. Delta Air Lines took over the terminal following Pan Am's demise in 1991 and operated it until May 23, 2013. Throughout the decades, the terminal has seen its fair share of historic figures: Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill, The Beatles and many others have passed beneath its massive roof. It has been featured in countless movies, television shows, and newspaper and magazine stories and has been a familiar landmark at JFK for the past 53 years. Kalev Savi started Save the Worldport in August 2010 with a handful of Facebook followers. Today the group claims an active social media community numbering over 7,500 from 63 countries.

SOURCE Save the Worldport