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!
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.
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.
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.
Then we flew south toward Staten Island, banked sharply, and looped back. The city looked so beautiful and serene at 3,000 feet.
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.
But before I had time to reflect on the sad events of that day, we were already approaching midtown.
I strained to see Central Park …
… but got an excellent look at Yankee Stadium …
… and New Jersey.
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.
I’ll be quiet for a bit and just let you enjoy the ride.
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.
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.
I was sorry when we came in for our landing. But I was exhilarated, too, and grateful for the experience.
Visiting New York and curious about taking your own helicopter tour? I certainly enjoyed my flight with Liberty Helicopters.*