Winter is not the best time to take a helicopter ride over New York City but being the only time my family can all travel together my Dad was determined that we go; So we took the chance to take to the skies even as the winds begun to pick up and the sky was set to drizzling.
Turning up at the Downtown Manhattan heliport the whole family was ready to get onboard and see one of our favourite cities from a new point-of-view.
After being taken through an introduction and brief safety information session, as well as locking up all our bags ($2 for a locker) – we were allowed to take cameras onboard – our group was taken onto the tarmac and loaded into the helicopter.
And then the drizzle began.
As we were taken up into the air one of the first sites you saw was of Governor’s Island.
The island, which is disconnected from Manhattan, is the home of the US Coast Guard, but there are many free activities which are open to the public daily including free walking tours, bike riding, art installations and frequently festivals or other concerts during the summer.
Being taken further along the river you get taken past Ellis Island, the first stop for many of the early settlers in America where the immigration hall was held. Today the island is still home to the immigration museum.
But the site we most wanted to see was on the other side of Ellis Island; a site you can just make out in the background of the photo.
Creeping past Ellis Island the Statue of Liberty grew as we got closer. Groups of boats toured around the island, drinking in the cities most famous site; The tourists walking the islands looking like ants.
Turning away from the Statue of Liberty we headed back down town, drinking in the views of the skyscrapers growing from the ground, the surrounding greenery of Battery Park, and the B-M-W bridges – that is Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Washington – on the other side of the island.
The fog was hanging low but it was still a beautiful view of the city.
One of the highlights of the tour was being able to fly over the new Yankees Stadium. Having seen it earlier that morning from a ground level it was a site to see from the skies, but what a great view it would have been if a baseball game was going on!
As we drifted back towards downtown, our 20minute ride in the air almost over, we caught site of the new Freedom Tower, better known as One World Trade Center, in place of where the World Trade Centres once stood.
Still being built when we flew by in December the tower is going to be 1776 feet tall, that is the same number as the year that the Declaration of Independence was signed.
In 2013, when it is set to be complete, the Freedom Tower will be the tallest building in the Western hemisphere and the third tallest in the world.
It was a short but sweet ride, our Irish piolet talking to us about the great things New York has to offer – both on ground and to view in the sky.
Even the drizzle couldn’t dampen our moods as we rushed inside to get warm.
Would you take a helicopter ride over a city? Which city would you choose?
Liberty Helicopters – New York, New York Tour
Cost: US$215 per person
Departs: Tours run between 9am and 6pm. Pre-booking is recommended.
More Info: http://www.libertyhelicopter.com/helicopter-tours.html