I didn’t realize how many memorable iconic exhibits we got to explore during our overnight visit to the JFK Hotel until I started drafting my posts – hope you are enjoying this walk through history.
One of my favorite pastimes as a child was enjoying the rides, games and food found in Coney Island, For those of you not familiar, you can look at this post One of these amusements centers on the Boardwalk, adjacent to the beach was the Sodamat Arcade:
The Coney Island Sodamat Arcade was one of the first automated stores where for a nickel, you could choose from some 20 soda dispensers lined up side by side , each with a different flavor. On the opposite side vendors offered great slabs of perfectly cooked waffles smothered with globes of creamy ice cream- the hot and cold together certain to produce instant ice headache.
Moving a little further into the interior- you could try your luck at Skeeball– a game that still exists today. Coins inserted into a slot released 9 wooden balls – the goal was to bank the balls up an inclined ramp in such a way that it would fall into the innermost hole within a series of concentric rings – thus scoring the highest points. At the end of the round(s) total points were tallied and tickets were received to reflect earned points, which could then be redeemed for prizes that lined the arcade- the more valuable, the more tickets needed. Obviously, as with any prize given out in such an atmosphere- the monies spent playing the game clearly were more than the actual value of the prize- but no one ever minded.
I am pretty sure that this item was also included in the Arcade (if not here, certainly somewhere on the Boardwalk) – a photobooth, where for a quarter, you could slip inside, close the curtains and take three black and white photos which were magically developed and delivered to a slot on the outside of the booth. The TWA Hotel has a custom, vintage reproduction of these photobooths, shown at the top of this post. Now the pics are in color – and they are free:
Another iconic product shares its birthyear with the TWA Flight Center, as it was introduced in 1963 and just discontinued in 2020. It’s retirement was lauded by a special party in the hotel’s lobby and now the lobby contains a series of tableau’s to show the ubiquity of one of the first diet colas:
Mny of you might recognize this last “blast from the past” as its demise was very recent:
The rotary payphone. An entire wall of theses phones exist in the hotel’s lobby, and while not connected to the current world, they will, for no cost take you back in time. Just pick up the handset and dial any number and you can hear snippets of what was going on at the TWA Flight Center in the 60’s.
Now time to party – after all I was at the TWA Hotel to celebrate my birthday. Teaser – we started in mid afternoon with some cocktails in the gorgeous Sunken Lounge:
Of course I started with the “Quickie Vacation.” More festivities to come in next week’s post!