Review: A Cloud9Living Experience of the Manhattan Skyline

Helicopter Ride in Manhattan

During my recent trip to New York City I had the opportunity to do something I wanted to do for a long time: ride on a helicopter for the very first time.  But, even more special, this ride happened to be with the Manhattan skyline as the setting!

Before going to NYC, I got in touch with Cloud9Living, the US leader in experience gifts, and got the ball rolling to add this wonderful experience to my list of achievements during my round the world trip.

About Cloud9Living…

Cloud9Living has the goal to forever change the way Americans give gifts by introducing them to the concept of giving an experience rather than a material product.  I personally love this idea, since experiences tend to be more memorable than material stuff.  Experiences you can remember for life.

In this case, Cloud9Living was kind enough to offer me this helicopter ride experience.

Once I received my “experience voucher”, like any person receiving a Cloud9Living experience would, I went through the booking process in a matter of minutes by filling my information and selecting a few scheduling options in case my preferred date was not available.

In about 24 hours, I got my Ultimate Helicopter Tour schedule confirmed and I was ready to see Manhattan from above! (In all fairness, I booked a New Yorker Helicopter Tour through Cloud9Living, but the helicopter company gave me a free upgrade to their Ultimate Helicopter Tour the day of the experience.)

The Ride…

While Cloud9Living facilitated the booking process (like an experience aggregator), the helicopter ride was done by a separate company (same thing applies to all other experiences).  In this case, Helicopter Flight Services, Inc. (HFS) was the one in charge of taking me to the skies.

Helicopter Ride in Manhattan

Me in front of Helicopter Flight Services’ Helicopter

HFS is located on the heliport in downtown Manhattan and performs flights 7 days a week, year round (weather dependent, of course).

The day of my ride arrived, and to a bit of disappointment, it was raining.  Sigh… I wanted to see the beautiful NY skyline with the sun setting and shining against it… But, the bad weather was not going to be a reason for me to not enjoy my first helicopter ride.

At the reception area I was quickly briefed about safety rules and soon enough I was being guided towards the helicopter.

Headphones and mouthpiece on, seatbelt fastened, and I was ready to go!

Helicopter Ride in Manhattan

My first helicopter ride!

My very first impression was: Wow, helicopters do vibrate like old washing machines! Not that the helicopter was old, of course!  (Have you seen the Family Guy episode when Peter Griffin rides the washer machine?  Kinda like that!)

Peter rides the washing machine

I’m so used to the feeling of “smooth” planes that the though of a helicopter shaking and vibrating never went through my head.  Still, the ride was pretty smooth and I stopped noticing the vibration in a matter of minutes (or maybe I got used to it).

From the helicopter I got a fantastic bird’s-eye view of Manhattan’s Skyline, the New York Harbor, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Downtown Manhattan.

From there, we made our way to the Statue of Liberty and got a pretty nice close up view.  Then followed Governors Island and Ellis Island, the symbol of American immigration from the late 1800’s to the mid 1900’s.

Helicopter Ride in Manhattan

The Statue of Liberty from above.

Helicopter Ride in Manhattan

The Financial District with the still unfinished WTC tower dominating the skyline.

We followed by going north along the Hudson River, with a contrasting view of New Jersey on the left and Manhattan on the right.  The density in Manhattan is just incomparable and so unique – to name a few… The Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, WTC, Bank Of America Tower, and so on…   I love it!

Helicopter Ride in Manhattan

Midtown Manhattan with the Empire State Building rising over the rest of the skyline.

We reached the George Washington Bridge, currently the world’s busiest bridge, and ended up the 20 minutes ride by circling the New Yankee Stadium and returning to the heliport.

Personally this was an experience that met all my expectation, even with the cloudy weather, and showed me a NYC I had never seen before.  I do recommend this experience to anyone interested in exploring New York from the sky.

Helicopter Ride in Manhattan

A view of the New Yankee Stadium from above.

Helicopter Ride in Manhattan

The New Yankee Stadium with the George Washington Bridge in the background, connecting New York with New Jersey.

Helicopter Ride in Manhattan

Downtown Manhattan

Now, why don’t you have an experience like this too?

Cloud9Living is currently running the “9 Days of Christmas” Contest (until December 15th 2012).  In it, you have the chance to win an experience package during each of the nine days leading up to Christmas.

To participate all you have to do is enter the contest with your email address and “like” them on Facebook.

Go to their page now for more information and to participate for the chance of winning one of 9 great prizes, including the grand prize of being a fighter pilot for a day!

Have you ever flown on a helicopter?  How did it feel and where was it?

Comments

  1. says

    Very cool Norbert! I did my chocolate and desserts walking tour with them today and I am on a total sugar high. Looks like you had a wonderful time seeing NYC. Wish I had seen you while you were here :(

    • says

      Thanks, Charu! Oh, that chocolate and dessert tour sounds like it was really delicious! Wish we had seen eachother there, but next time, no excuses! ;)

  2. says

    Sounds cool! I went on my first helicopter ride last month in San Francisco. It wasn’t as smooth as an airplane, but I still really enjoyed it.

  3. says

    Brilliant! I once took a helicopter ride on Grouse Mountain near Vancouver, and loved it. I found it to be really stable but it was so loud!
    Great photos of NYC ! :)

  4. says

    What an awesome Idea to give experience’s rather than gifts. I think I have warmed my family up to this idea. For the last several years I always ask to help paying for plane tickets, hostels or other travel related things. Great photos Norbert.

    • says

      Oh, that is a great idea to have your family and friends help with the “tools” that will serve to give you new experiences. I prefer that rather than the material stuff I can’t carry with me anyways. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>