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A Lockheed Constellation L-1649A Starliner, known as the “Connie, is parked in New York’s Times Square during a promotion event, Saturday, March 23, 2019, in New York. The vintage commercial aircraft will serve as the cocktail lounge outside the TWA Hotel at JFK airport. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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An actor dressed as a pilot from the 1960s and ‘ 70s, poses for a photo next to a Lockheed Constellation L-1649A Starliner, known as the “Connie, is parked in New York’s Times Square during a promotion event, Saturday, March 23, 2019, in New York. The vintage commercial aircraft will serve as the cocktail lounge outside the TWA Hotel at JFK airport, a hotel that promises to bring back “the magic of the Jet Age.” (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
NEW YORK – A vintage plane that was to fly the passengers in the 1950s to running drugs in the 1970s, and visited Times Square on Saturday for a following transformation into a cocktail lounge at the former TWA terminal at Kennedy Airport.
The trunk of the 1958 Lockheed Constellation is spending the weekend in Times Square, as part of an upcoming documentary about the redevelopment of Eero Saarinen’s landmark TWA Flight Center into a hotel.
The plane arrived in New York in November of Maine, where it was restored.
It was trucked Friday from Kennedy Airport to Times Square, where the same model plane was featured in an eight-story billboard in the late 1950s.
The Constellation, known as Connie, flew for TWA for three years before it was forced into retirement by the Boeing 707. It was later used as an Alaskan bush plane and then it was used as a marijuana dropper by South American drug traffickers.
The airplane was bought last year by MCR/MORSE Development, the developers of the soon-to-open TWA Hotel.
MCR CEO Tyler Morse said the vintage plane will serve as a cocktail lounge in the hotel.
“We try to recreate the theatre of the hotel and make it a special experience,” he said Saturday.
The 512-room TWA Hotel is scheduled to open in May and will be the only hotel on the airport site.
It is intended as an homage to the time that Saarinen’s gull-winged TWA Flight Center opened in 1962. The terminal closed in 2001, when TWA was acquired by American Airlines.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who joined Morse at an event welcome to the vintage plane to Times Square, said the landmark TWA terminal is “it comes to a vibrant hotel and conference space, and a part of our city.”
Associated Press reporter Julie Walker contributed to this report.