North Jerseyians are accustomed to some things that others may take for granted. The abundant availability of top-notch pizza, not having to pump our own gas, and of course, incredible views of the NYC skyline from many different vantage points. We’re so used to looking straight at the glittering skyscrapers, that The Hoboken Girl wondered what it would be like to take a different perspective. Since levitation exists only in sci-fi, we looked at the next best thing, a helicopter ride. There are several North Jersey-based companies that offer helicopter tours of both Manhattan and North Jersey. Between the pre-set sight-seeing tours or something customized, there are plenty of choices to change your view on these familiar sights.
FlyNYON | 78 John Miller Way, Kearny
(Photo credit: @flynyon)
The mission behind FlyNYON was to make aerial photography more accessible to people who aren’t professional photographers. The Photo Flight Experiences start at $99 and FlyNYON offers ‘buy now fly later’ deals frequently. Passengers can take a pre-set route that will last from 16 to 49 minutes and passengers can choose whether to have the doors on or off. These flights, depending on length, will give passengers an aerial view of NYC’s most iconic landmarks. For example, a 28-minute, doors-off flight will cover the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Wall Sreet, Freedom Tower, 9/11 Memorial, The Oculus, Lower Manhattan Money Shot, Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, Midtown, Times Square, The Vessel, and Central Park.
For special events like the 4th of July, FlyNYON offers Focus Flights starting at 30 minutes each. Private flights are available. FlyNYON also rents camera equipment and has staff available to help passengers pick out the best equipment.
Garden State Helicopters | 1 Airport Road, Morristown
(Photo credit: @gardenstatehelicopters)
Garden State Helicopter’s New York City Tour departs from Lincoln Park Airport and flies over MetLife Stadium (home of the Giants and Jets) on its way into NYC. Then, passengers will enter the Hudson River corridor south of the George Washington Bridge and head south along the New Jersey coastline for views of Hoboken, Colgate Clock, downtown Jersey City, and Ellis Island. They will then circle the Statue of Liberty and fly northbound up the Hudson in order to see downtown New York City while observing the Freedom Tower, Battery Park, 9/11 Memorial, Chelsea Piers, and the Intrepid before returning to Lincoln Park.
Garden State Helicopters also offers helicopter flight instruction and aerial photography services.
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Heliflights | Hangar 400, 1101 W. Edgar Road, Linden
(Photo credit: @heliflights)
Heliflights has been in business for over 11 years, and the staff speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese. There are 12 flight options available of varying lengths and with the doors on or off. There are also add-on packages for photography or banner-towing. The banner-towing is designed to go along with the Proposal Tour. The tour itself is 20-25 minutes long, and the banner is a 7-foot long banner that says, “Will You Marry Me?” Clearly, the team at Heliflights has seen a thing or two and comes prepared for the special moment.
One of the flight offerings focuses specifically on the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan. The tour lasts 15-18 minutes and passengers will get up close and personal with the Tear of Grief Memorial, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governor’s Island, Freedom Tower, Battery Park waterfront, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Financial District.
Liberty Helicopter | 165 Western Road, Kearny
(Photo credit: @libertyhelicopters)
Since 1986, Liberty Helicopter has been flying passengers high above the city to see the sights. The tour offered by Liberty Helicopter is called the Big Apple Tour and lasts for about 15 minutes. Passengers will see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, One World Trade Center, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, Chelsea Piers, Times Square, The Intrepid, and Central Park. Liberty Helicopter frequently posts special tours or discounts to its Instagram account.
New York Helicopter Tours | 78 John Miller Way, Kearny
(Photo credit: @newyorkhelicopter)
Tours with New York Helicopter Tours range from 12 to 25 minutes long. The price starts at $120 per person plus a $35 heliport fee. This company has been in business for over 20 years, and in addition to the Kearny heliport, the tours can originate or end at the Downtown Heliport in Manhattan.
Platinum Helicopters LLC | 41 Airpark Road, Princeton
(Photo credit: @flyplatinumhelicopters)
While most of the helicopter tours are somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes, the tours offered by Platinum Helicopters start at 30 minutes for a ‘design your own’ tour. The other tours offered include an NYC Photo Tour, a Philadelphia Photo Tour, and an Atlantic City Photo Tour. Owners Evan and Alicia Van Gilson will work with clients to come up with the exact outing desired – there are even seasonal tours available like flying over a Christmas Tree Farm to get a Santa’s Eye View of the scene.
Sky River Helicopters | 48 Sky Manor Road, Pittstown
A tour with Sky River Helicopters could take you to Manhattan, or you could head in the opposite direction to enjoy a more verdant view of New Jersey. The New Jersey Photo Tour takes passengers along the shore, while the Poconos Tour takes passengers along the Delaware River, through the Delaware Water Gap, and over the Poconos Mountains. Of course, a classic NYC Skyline Tour is available, or let the pilot decide with the Experience Tour. If none of those are of interest, work with the team to coordinate something custom. With a one-hour minimum, the team will help plan a route that covers what you want to see. Our favorite option is the Sunset Tour: champagne and a setting sun at 1,500 feet.