A bird’s-eye view of New York

My inner mountain goat comes out whenever I visit a new city: I always feel compelled to climb the tallest object. In New York, that would be One World Trade Center. It’s so tall it’s literally a sky-scraper!

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Alas, during my visit last weekend it wasn’t yet completed, so I went for the next-best thing. Yup, I hopped on a helicopter.

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Esteban opted out because he was worried about vertigo. So, because I was alone — and also the shrimpiest person on the tour — I got to sit up front with the pilot.

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I had a knot in my stomach as we took off; the black bird felt both leaden and wobbly. But before I could indulge any second thoughts, we were approaching the Statue of Liberty.

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Then we flew south toward Staten Island, banked sharply, and looped back. The city looked so beautiful and serene at 3,000 feet.

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As we approached Manhattan I got a closer look at One World Trade Center. At 1,776 feet, it’s the tallest building in the Western hemisphere — and taller even than the Twin Towers that were destroyed on September 11, 2001.

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But before I had time to reflect on the sad events of that day, we were already approaching midtown.

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I strained to see Central Park …

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… but got an excellent look at Yankee Stadium …

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… and New Jersey.

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When we once again banked and turned, a sky-writer appeared as if out of thin air. Too bad we didn’t stick around to catch the entire (apparently existential) message.

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I’ll be quiet for a bit and just let you enjoy the ride.

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As our tour came to an end, we deliberately overshot the southern tip of the island to line up our approach. In the center of the frame you can see the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Then we looped around for one more look at Manhattan. It may sound like an exaggeration, but my photos really don’t do the moment justice.

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I was sorry when we came in for our landing. But I was exhilarated, too, and grateful for the experience.

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Visiting New York and curious about taking your own helicopter tour? I certainly enjoyed my flight with Liberty Helicopters.*


* I did not receive any compensation from Liberty Helicopters for this post (in fact, I paid for my ride). I provide the link to Liberty Helicopters only as a courtesy to my readers, based on my own positive — but limited — experience. As a result, I can obviously not be responsible for others’ experience with this or any other tour company. The lawyers of HBlog thank you for reading, and will now reward your kind attention with a helicopter joke: Over a remote Scottish island a helicopter lost power and was forced to make an emergency landing. Luckily there was a small cottage nearby. The pilot walked over to it and knocked on the door. “Is there a mechanic in the area?” he asked the woman who answered. She scratched her head and thought for a few seconds. “No,” she finally said, “but we do have a McArdle and a McKay.”


    • If you have the opportunity, absolutely! My only regret is that I didn’t do it on the first day — it gave me such a great “mental map” of the city. Thanks for your lovely comment, Fiona!

    • I wish I’d seen your comment before last Tuesday, when we left New York — we could have taken a heli ride together! Alas, life is full of little disappointments. But next time, right?

      By the way, I really do love your image of the boxers in NYC. More, please!

  1. Wooow! Your inner mountain goat has a good taste.
    I’m surprised about the bunches of green and sunny sides, as I always have a sort of ‘dark’ impression about NY. And around the city there seems to be a lot of green too. Muac!

    • “Your inner mountain goat has good taste.” ¡Qué graciosa eres! 😀 Like you, I was also surprised by the bunches of green everywhere. When I last visited New York 30 years ago I was also left with a very dark, very oppressive impression. But I’m happy to report that the city has been utterly transformed (at least the parts I saw). I was especially and most pleasantly surprised by the people … but of course, that’s a topic for another day. 😀

      Thank you for stopping by, dear Rosa. Siempre es un placer “platicar” un poco contigo.

  2. Wow, great shots! I am currently campaigning for a trip to New York in the fall…it’s a bit of a long haul from the West Coast but hey, it’s on my bucket list. This is definitely an experience that I’ll keep in mind to try.

    • I can say without any reservation that New York is *definitely* worth the long haul from the West Coast, Holli. I very much hope you’re able to make it this fall. (And if you do, please feel free to drop me a note if you’d like dining/lodging recommendations.) But in the meantime, stay tuned … lots more to come on HBlog from the Big Apple. Cheers, and thanks so much for reading!

    • Thank you so much, Des. I wish there were a similar option in Paris … it would be fascinating to see my (still) favorite city from such a different perspective.

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