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New York City Helicopter Sightseeing Tours
One of the most thrilling ways to see New York City is on a Helicopter Tour. In addition to having a birds eye view of Central Park, the Hudson River, New York Harbor and the East River you'll have the opportunity to see and photograph iconic NYC landmarks.
Helicopter tours are an exciting and memorable way to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governors Island and famous skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and Woolworth Building. NYC's many bridges including the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan, George Washington and Verrazano Bridges all look amazing from the air.
I've taken several New York City helicopter tours as you can see from my photos featured on this page and many other pages throughout the site.
If you are interested in aerial photography be aware that you will be shooting through tinted glass. You may want to process your images with Photoshop or another image enhancement software.
I've had the best results by using shutter priority with a relatively fast shutter speed (even faster for telephoto shots—you may have to raise the ISO). You won't have a lot of time for manual adjustments.
Security for helicopter flights over Manhattan is tight. Reservations and photo ID are required and other restrictions including limited carry-on apply. Lockers are available to store backpacks, etc.
Be aware that "A $30 security / facility fee per person will be collected…" In the past (before the security fee) a fuel surcharge has been added and could be again in the future. Full descriptions as well as all charges are detailed here: New York City Sightseeing Helicopter Rides.
There are three helicopter tours available from Manhattan Helicopters: Classic ($145), Deluxe ($195), and VIP ($260).
The major difference in these three tours is length of flight, 15, 20 or 30 minutes and additional sights seen on the longer flights. You will see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island plus Manhattan from downtown to Central park on each tour with the Deluxe flights adding sights such as Harlem, Yankee Stadium and the George Washington Bridge while you will also see Coney Island Beach & Amusement Park, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge & Staten Island and more on the VIP flight. A minimum of 4 passengers are required to book the VIP helicopter tour.
Manhattan Helicopter Tours depart from Pier 6 East River (downtown between South Street Seaport and Staten Island Ferry).
Liberty Helicopter Tours also depart from Pier 6 and offer 4 options, 2 that are combinations with bus tour plus helicopter flight. Liberty Helicopter Tours NYC — The Big Apple ($150 – 15 min), New York New York ($215 – 18–20 min), loop around the end of Manhattan up and down the Hudson and East Rivers and over the island at the south end of Central Park to provide aerial views of all the major landmarks.
Downtown Tour + Manhattan Helicopters — The Delux ($195) combines a 20 min. helicopter ride with the Downtown Tour Plus double-decker, hop-on, hop-off bus tour while All Around Town Tour + Liberty Helicopter Tour — The Big Apple ($199) combines Liberty Helicopters Big Apple 15 min. tour with the All Around Town Tour — Downtown, Uptown, Bronx, Brooklyn and Night bus tours, Museum of the City of New York admission and 90 min. Midtown Cruise. Possibly the best deal of all.
Click the link for full details and booking: New York City Sightseeing Helicopter Rides
Another option is a package that combines double-decker, hop-on, hop-off bus tours of Uptown, Downtown and Midtown with a Night Tour and Helicopter Tour. The full package tour can be purchased in 1, 2, 3 or 5 day durations. 2, 3 and 5 day tickets also include a New York Water Taxi cruise to the Statue of Liberty.
Website and all photos copyright © 2001–2015 Lee W. Nelson