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World's Ugliest Airports



John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City

When JFK was young—back when it was still called Idlewild—it was beautiful, a stunning assemblage of the best modern architecture of its time. The International Arrivals Building featured a graceful arched hall decorated with an Alexander Calder mobile, and Eero Saarinen’s TWA terminal was a bit of heaven. That was 50 years ago. Today JFK is resolutely hellish; arriving passengers are often greeted with endless blank corridors and stairways. “More than dysfunctional, it’s completely bananas,” says Museum of Modern Art design curator Paola Antonelli. Especially loathed are the Delta terminals, which industrial designer David Gresham calls “filthy, dilapidated, and unclear in any sense of signage or direction.”

The Upside: The new JetBlue terminal is perfectly functional. And Terminal 1—built in the 1990s and used by a number of international carriers—is not so bad.


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