Helicopter Tour Over New York City

New York From the Sky

I flew over New York City in a helicopter.

I’d like to say it was because Michael Bloomberg owed me a favour after I rescued his dog from being run over by a truck in Brooklyn, but it was actually just because I was so good at not spending my student loan on anything other than $0.36 Kraft macaroni and cheese dinners that I had $200 to spare. And YOLO, right? RIGHT?

I nearly missed out though and because I’m English I will take great joy in blaming the weather. Buggering curmudgeons it was, rain and wind and all manner of weathering nasties.

I left Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday evening, after my last class for the week. My housemate dropped me off at a now-abandoned KFC restaurant (probably the only fast food restaurant in America to ever go out of business) and I waited for the Chinese Express bus to Manhattan. It was cheaper than the Greyhound or the train, but I did have to deal with sitting next to a twitchy, snoring Chinese guy for 13 hours.

The next day it was raining and generally miserable. It reminded me of home. My helicopter tour was postponed and I was told to come back first thing in the morning to see if I could get a place on another tour. So I did, and after a lot of bureaucracy and admin and general waiting around, I found myself sitting next to the pilot in the front of a helicopter about to fly over New York City. I hadn’t been so excited since I ate my first Twinkie.

Myself and the four other tourists in back were given headsets connected to a main console. In a move that was both incredibly cheesy yet too cool for words, “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra played in our ears as we took off. “Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away,”  are the first lyrics for anyone who doesn’t know that classic. I grinned to myself as I watched the ground disappear from underneath the glass at my feet.

New York Helicopter Console

Somebody told me once that you never regret the money you spend when you travel; I’m inclined to agree. I paid $200 for the helicopter tour which lasted 12 minutes.

New York Central Park from Air

Could I have spent that money on something more useful? Sure. Do I wish I had spent that money on something more useful? Hell no. I flew over New York City in a helicopter. How many people can say that?

Manhattan from Helicopter

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28 Comments Add yours

  1. skytash says:

    Have to agree – I’ve never regretted spending money while travelling. Mind you, I can now save money because I don’t need to do the helicopter ride over New York! 😉

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    1. ambigram0 says:

      Aha! But reading about it and seeing a few pictures isn’t the same!

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      1. skytash says:

        of course not, my appetite is now duly whetted. Do you get commission for selling rides? 😉

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      2. ambigram0 says:

        Haha I wish! Can’t even remember the name of the company to be honest!

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  2. majardesign says:

    New York is great seeing on foot, but I can’t imagine how great is to see it from above!

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    1. ambigram0 says:

      AMAZING. Definitely one of my favourite cities in the world and there’ll be at least a few more blog posts on the place!

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  3. Kurt says:

    Very cool captures!

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  4. xavigeis says:

    Nice pics, I really like the last one!!

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  5. More likely to regret the money you didn’t spend while traveling – it costs a lot more to go back somewhere and do that one thing you really wanted to do, but didn’t want to spend the money than it does to just do it. Or the mental cost of forever wishing you had done it when you had the chance because you may never get the opportunity again.

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    1. ambigram0 says:

      Agreed. A lot of my time in South America I wasted because I had no idea what I was doing. Would love to go back and do it again, “properly” this time!

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  6. Jillian says:

    Fantastic photos!! And I think helicopter rides are the absolute bees’ knees! I did one in Hawaii, and it was the best! I would absolutely pay $200 for a ride over NYC! I applaud your use of saved money and DEFINITELY say YOLO! =D

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  7. Chan Vi says:

    How the funk did you manage to bagsie the front seat?!

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    1. ambigram0 says:

      Aha! I think it was because there was 4 spaces in back and the others who were riding were two groups of two. Bonus of being a solo traveller!

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  8. withitalianlove says:

    Love that you were accompanied by Frank Sinatra on the way up, a classic songwriter and a great addition to an already amazing helicopter ride!

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  9. Milanee says:

    Great post! I never thought about taking a helicopter ride over NYC – boat yes, but this is way cooler!

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  10. Ben says:

    I went on a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon and was lucky enough to get the front seat aswell. It was absolutely breathtaking! On the other scale, I’ve done a 22 hour bus journey from Alice Springs to Darwin and was kicking myself for not spending that little bit extra on a plane.

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    1. ambigram0 says:

      North Rim or South? I actually did another heli tour over the South Rim, which really was the very last of my student budget! I didn’t get front seat for that one though.

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      1. Ben says:

        I’m not sure to be honest. I was 14 at the time, and got the front seat as I was the lightest. I’m 27 now so its going back a few years, but I remember loving the experience.

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  11. Seriously where can you find KD for 36 cents?

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  12. ambigram0 says:

    Kraft Mac and Cheese in a cardboard packet I’m sure was about 30-40 cents in Walmart – this was spring 2011 so it might’ve changed since then…

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  13. Elen Grey says:

    Okay. Now I want to do a helicopter ride over NYC. Thanks for that, and thanks for visiting my blog today!

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  14. kazzabee87 says:

    Sup Chirpy! How good is NYC… I need to move there immediately, if not sooner. I did this over Christmas time last year and I must say you are absolutely right… I’ve never ever regretted money spent on travel, especially on a helicopter ride. Have you done any other chopper tours? There’s a fantastic one over the island of Kauai (Hawaii) if you ever get the chance. =D You can land at the bottom of the waterfall that features in Jurassic Park which is pretty mad – but apart from that the Na’Pali coast is simply stunning.
    Keep doing what you’re doin’. Stay safe,
    Kazza =D

    Like

    1. ambigram0 says:

      I did a heli tour over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, which was AMAZING. The one over Hawaii sounds even better! And yeah, NYC is one of my favourite cities. I’d love to move there too!

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  15. pixelvoyages says:

    totally agree – something like this is worth every penny spent. and the pics r there for all to see!

    Like

  16. Steve says:

    “Buggering curmudgeons it was” – ha ha. Love it!

    Like

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