We spent most of the night just talking about being happy the year is over. L. especially was just looking forward to new year with all the medical stuff she has had to deal with. I think this has been the hardest year of her life. After a long night of talking we just passed out. We didn’t even notice that midnight had come and gone until 15 minutes after.
My friend had won a free helicopter flight through his work. Apparently because it was a free ticket he had to make the reservation quite far in advance so he had put it off until it was about to expire. His wife was visiting family outside the country so he invited me to go along. I asked L. but she was scared of getting motion sick so decided not to go. You would think that a flight normally costing $150 would last longer than 12 minutes. (or at least I thought so.) The flight was short but covered all of manhattan and statue of liberty. Since special clearance is required to fly over Manhattan the flight starts at the south tip of Manhattan, flies up the Hudson river to George Washington Bridge, down to the Statue of Liberty for a circle then up the East River to the Brooklyn Bridge before returning to the heliport next to the ferry station.
I got stuck in the middle of the helicopter (I offered since I didn’t think it was polite to make my friend sit there since I was tagging along for free.) The funny thing was that I was still being able to see everything since I was tall enough. I just had to zoom my camera so that it wouldn’t get the helicopter in the picture but I had the benefit of seeing out both sides. Of course the best ride would have sitting up front but I wasn’t going to complain. Taking off was the weirdest sensation. I’m used to planes where speed pushes you back in the seat before taking off. For the helicopter one second you’re on the ground the next your up in the air with your butt pushed down in the seat. There was the definite feeling that the helicopter had a lot more horse-power than the pilot would ever use for this kind of flight but that was strangely reassuring.
So would I do it again? maybe for free. It was a cool one time thing. I think I enjoyed it more since I was very familiar with New York City. Also the pilot lessons made the radio chatter interesting too. For a one time thing I would pay $100 for the ride but as advice to any tourists doing it, I would wait and do it as the very last thing you do in New York City otherwise it will just seem like you are staring down at a bunch of apartment tenements.