We took one of the last scheduled helicopter flights out of JFK to Lower Manhatten in the mid 80's. It was great stepping off a 747 from London and being ushered directly onto a waiting helicopter for the 12 min ride to Downtown. The aircraft used were fairly basic and it was almost impossible to talk during the trip due to engine noise. Sadly around that time the service was discontinued and although it recommenced in 2006, it has now almost certainly finished for good, presumably due to the fact that that the landing pontoon is so close to the new World Trade Centre in lower manhatten
While on a visit to New York, I just had to go on a helicopter tour over the city. The tour was pretty expensive and only lasted a few minutes. However, the thrill of flying over one of the world's greatest cities and the views I saw made it a memorable experience.
Ok, I didn’t do this but I saw so many helicopters all over Manhattan so I think I have to post a tip about them. There are helicopters that will take you from the airport to downtown for 800$! What’s more you can tour all over Manhattan. They depart somewhere in lower Manhattan near to Battery Park so here’s a link if you’re interested in these expensive stuff...
The Big Apple Heli tour costs $123, the Manhattan Heli Unique Manhattan tour costs $175. Both of them require reservations at 212-845-9822
For those interested in helicopter tours, and there are many helicopters in the air above Manhattan, I thought I would post this provider. I did not go up on tour as I do not trust this form of transport, however many people do.
I have seen in the New York Forum queries on helicopter tours so here is one contact.
Why not treat yourself to a Helicopter Tour of Manhattan and Statue of Liberty! I did, and will always remember it.
I had not quite expected the queues of people when arriving at the Heliport, but guess its quite a popular tourist attraction.
Had brilliant views as I got a seat next to the Pilot!
I booked the tour in advance through www.allnewyorktours.com. Special offer at the time of US$89 for a 12 min ride, worth every cent.
It got cancelled on day one due to the weather, but luckily managed to change to another day, otherwise would have got a refund.
REMEMBER TO TAKE PHOTO ID WITH YOU! I forgot this, luckily my husband had his, and I had a credit card so that was ok.
See more pictures in Travelogue
This tip is both a promotional spot and a warning. Taking a helicopter tour of Manhattan will generally ask over $100 from you for less than ten minutes of travel time. You will only travel over water and will not approach any structure or building (as a result of 9/11). Seating is cramped. Posturing is difficult. Taking good photographs from the chopper is impossible (the best you can achieve is "decent.") Either the seat strap will hamper you, or the rotor or doors will appear in your prints, and all attempts must shoot through the translucid plastic windows or doors. Women and smaller young adults perhaps have the advantage by sitting in the front seat by the pilot. In the end, you are no sooner airborne than you are landing, but there is no other way to see the city like this (hence the price).