First of all, I know what you are thinking – what tab did I leave open? Did I just get a pop up ad? WHERE IS THIS BEAUTIFUL MUSIC COMING FROM? – well if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will be able to find a YouTube video playing the wonderful song ‘Empire State of Mind’ By Alicia Keys. I have immersed this song into my article as it was the song that was playing in my headphones whilst flying over NYC (as pictured above) and is my best description of the ambiance from my helicopter flight over New York City with Zip Aviation.
Now that we have the music explanation out of the way, I will begin my review.
With tours starting at $145, a Zip Aviation Helicopter flight over NYC is a top of the bucket list definite to do whilst visiting the Big Apple. It is an experience that you will forever remember and will scream of excitement every time you see a helicopter shot of the skyline you flew over in a movie (i.e. Every single movie).
Zip Aviation provides spectacular views, a very unique experience and offers a new look to the beloved city. They are located at 6 East River Piers, Downtown Manhattan Heliport, New York, NY 10004 and are only a stroll away from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Prior to the flight, I had just completed a tour of New York University, strolled through Times Square, taken a famous yellow taxi ride and dyed the ends of my hair blue – my excitement and happiness levels were at a all time high. I pretty much star jumped out of the taxi when pulling up at the pier and was running around with the biggest New Yorker smile.
After a short wait and many eyes-bursting-from-their-sockets-of-excitement photos, we were taken to briefing. The man briefing us said ‘IF you return, you will be able to buy the video of your flight’ and burst into a uncontrollable fit of laughter after realising he said IF. As he looked like one of the manliest looking men I have ever seen, his giggly girly laughs led the rest of the group to tears of laughter. This finished our not so finished brief (I really hope we didn’t miss any important information) and we headed out towards the runway. There is also a $30 heliport fee, which they failed to tell us about prior to arriving.
I strutted out like a celebrity towards my helicopter. Ok maybe not strutted, more ‘Michael Jackson Smooth Criminal’ lean forward dance move walk, due to the strong wind of the propeller. I made it to the aircraft very dramatically (not really but I was excited) and managed to grab the seat next to the pilot.
The helicopter flight that I had chosen to go on was the Liberty Tour (red line on the map to the right).
We buckled our seat belts up, placed our headphones on and I got my two cameras ready. One for each hand.
I was so excited I didn’t even realise we had taken off until we were over the top of water, as it was a surprisingly smooth take off. We quickly rose in height and began to head over the wonderful New York City.
First, passing Governors Island, we headed to the Statue of Liberty. Looping around her was the ultimate way of seeing the iconic monument of NYC. I constantly had to remind myself that I was not sitting in a cinema and watching a movie but was actually there in the flesh.
We started towards Manhattan and as the skyline appeared, the song ‘Empire State of Mind’ started playing (hopefully the music is still playing over this article now, however that would completed depend on your reading speed). I will 100% admit that I had tears running down my cheeks, as the combination of the city, the music, the overall excitement of the day and the reality of what was happening was extremely overwhelming.
As we headed down Hudson River, the sunlight hit the city buildings – giving it a pinkish glow. The Freedom Building, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller, Central Park, Ground Zero, Wall Street, Madison Square Gardens, my hotel! – the amount of iconic locations you could see went on and on.
Our pilot gave us a little history of NYC whilst we passed landmarks and was incredibly friendly throughout the whole flight. The Liberty Tour was 15 minutes long (however felt like 5) and you saw an incredible amount. To upgrade to the Big City Tour (yellow), it will cost an additional $50 – which would definitely be worth it.
There is no denying that the helicopter flight of NYC with Zip Aviation was the highlight of my time in my favourite city.
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