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  • Writer's pictureMark Vogel

My Flight Above the Big Apple: A Comprehensive Guide to Helicopter Tours in New York City

New York City Helicopter Tour


New York City Helicopter Tour
New York City Helicopter Tour

New York City has a lot to see from the ground. But to see it from the sky presents another amazing perspective of the city. I had an opportunity to take a Helicopter Tour of New York City, starting from The Downtown Manhattan Heliport. This unique experience provided breathtaking aerial views of the city's iconic landmarks. In this guide, I'll share details of the journey for those considering a similar adventure.



New York City Helicopter Tour

“Whether you're looking for a quick sightseeing adventure, a romantic gesture, or a specialized photographic journey, there's a tour that fits the bill.”

Starting Point: Downtown Manhattan Heliport


My journey began at The Downtown Manhattan Heliport, located at Pier 6 in the East River. This heliport is easily accessible and offers a prime location for starting the tour.



Pre-Flight Preparations


Before the flight, there's a brief safety orientation. It's important to pay attention to these instructions for a safe and enjoyable experience.

New York City Helicopter Tour

My Flight Path:


Lower Manhattan


The helicopter lifted off, providing an immediate and spectacular view of Lower Manhattan. The unique perspective from above allows for a clear view of the city's layout and architectural marvels.


Along the Hudson River


Flying up the Hudson River along the west side of Manhattan, the tour offers stunning views of the city's skyline. This part of the flight is perfect for photographers aiming to capture the essence of New York.


George Washington Bridge and Return


After passing over the George Washington Bridge, the helicopter turned back, offering a different perspective. The return journey took us over the West Side and then back again over the Hudson heading towards New Jersey.


Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty


A highlight of the tour was flying over Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. These iconic landmarks are seen from a rare aerial vantage point, providing a sense of their scale and significance.


Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges


As we approached the heliport for landing, the views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges were phenomenal. This segment offered a fantastic conclusion to the tour, with these historic bridges framed against the city backdrop.


New York City Helicopter Tour

Tips for Your Helicopter Tour:


1. Camera Gear: Bring a camera with a good zoom lens to capture detailed shots of landmarks.

2. Clothing: Wear comfortable clothing and avoid loose items that could interfere with the flight.

3. Weather: Check the weather forecast in advance. Clear days offer the best views.

4. Booking: Book your tour in advance to secure your preferred time slot.

5. Motion Sickness: If you're prone to motion sickness, take precautions as the flight can be a bit turbulent.


Helicopter tours in New York City offer a range of experiences, catering to different preferences and interests. Here's an overview of the types of tours and some additional details:


New York City Helicopter Tour

1. Standard Sightseeing Tours

- Duration: These tours typically last from 15 to 30 minutes.

- Route: They cover major landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park, Hudson River, and more.

- Cost: Prices vary, but generally start from around $150-$200 per person.


2. Private Helicopter Tours

- Personalized Experience: These tours offer a more intimate and customizable experience.

- Flexibility: You can often choose your route or focus on specific areas of interest.

- Cost: Private tours are more expensive, depending on the duration and route.


3. Photography-Focused Tours

- For Photographers: Tailored for photography enthusiasts, these tours may allow for open-door flights for unobstructed shooting.

- Timing: Often scheduled during golden hours for optimal lighting.

- Equipment: You're encouraged to bring professional camera gear.


4. Romantic or Special Occasion Tours

- Special Packages: Ideal for proposals, anniversaries, or other special occasions, these tours might include champagne or other special arrangements.

- Privacy: Generally offered as private tours for a more intimate experience.


5. Night Tours

- Unique Perspective: Experience NYC's skyline lit up at night.

- Duration: Usually similar to the standard tours but offers a distinct nighttime city view.


6. Combo Tours

- Variety: Some operators offer helicopter tours combined with boat cruises or other city attractions.

- Cost-Effective: These packages can be more cost-effective than booking separately.


7. Things to Consider

- Safety Record: Always check the safety record and reviews of the helicopter tour company.

- Weather Dependent: Tours are weather-dependent and may be rescheduled in case of poor conditions.

- Reservations: Advance booking is recommended, especially during peak tourist seasons.

- Noise-Canceling Headphones: These are usually provided, as helicopters can be quite loud.


New York City helicopter tours provide a unique and exhilarating way to experience the city. Whether you're looking for a quick sightseeing adventure, a romantic gesture, or a specialized photographic journey, there's a tour that fits the bill. Remember to book in advance and check the specific details and inclusions of your chosen tour.


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