In mid-June, Rolan and I celebrated our second anniversary of being together by giving each other the gift of a helicopter tour over New York City, an experience that amazed us as much as we had hoped it would.
We took a sunset tour with Heliflights, a family-run company based just over the state line in Linden, New Jersey. We were greeted in the hangar by a jolly crew of guys who warned us that our stomachs might drop like on a roller coaster, which was fine by us.
I felt such a rush of excitement as our four-person craft began to lift away from the runway. While the sensation of flying in the helicopter felt completely foreign at first, I adjusted much more quickly than I would have expected. Due to the almost complete lack of turbulence, it felt like we were driving a car in the sky.
Flying from New Jersey, we passed over industrial landscapes and snaking estuaries, and we traveled by Governor’s Island on the way to Manhattan. My heart literally started beating faster as I watched the city skyline grow on our horizon.
We traveled up Manhattan via the Hudson River, flying by Liberty Tower. Along the Hudson, we enjoyed aerial views of many of Manhattan’s piers and skyscrapers. I especially loved seeing soccer games in action–the players on the field looked like polka dots!
After getting clearance from whatever authorities of the sky that be, we curved onto Manhattan island itself, where we spotted people picnicking and playing baseball in Central Park. I found this part of the ride especially magical. Central Park is my favorite part of the city, and seeing it laid out like a grand, green map dotted with picnic blankets was better than I ever could have imagined.
We zoomed over from Central Park to the Empire State Building, which we orbited twice. It was surreal to be up so high that even the people on the observation deck looked small.
We loved feeling the rays of sun on our faces and the light breeze that came through small openings in the doors. I had packed a leather jacket for the helicopter ride, thinking it might be cold up in the sky, but, in fact, it was quite warm!
After a couple spins around the Empire State Building, we wound our way over to Times Square and Madison Square Garden. Our bird’s-eye views of the city’s most crowded, touristic spots really opened my eyes to the crazy number of taxis we have here.
Continuing towards the bottom of the island, we flew over the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, where we spied many pedestrians and cyclists. (Speaking of, sign up here to join me and Citi Bike on a ride through Brooklyn this Sunday, July 10!)
Finally, we returned to the hangar, enjoying views of Liberty Tower and the Statue of Liberty, illuminated by the setting sun.
Rolan and I were so grateful to get to celebrate these two years together by living out a dream we shared. That said, as much as flying above New York’s skyscrapers took my breath away, what most fills me with happiness and gratitude is that I have someone to share dreams, goals, and adventures with, someone to get me out on the road and off my computer, someone whose company makes the whole world feel more attainable than ever before. Whether romantic partner, friend, or family member, I can only wish that you can have and be such a person.