Photographing New York from the sky

- Taking incredible aerial photos of New York City to post on your Instagram only takes a few minutes in a NYONair chopper.

Vin Farrell, NYONair board member and global chief content officer at ad agency Havas, came up with the concept because he wanted to get between the top of a skyscraper and an airplane. The best way to do that? A helicopter.

NYONair has several packages that let you do just that. Their helicopters leave from Kearny, New Jersey, and bring you right over New York City. Buy a seat on a 12-minute flight for $200. A 30-minute flight runs $500.

Each flight is a totally customized photo experience with a trained pilot as your guide. Christi Brown, NYONair's director of flight operations, is one of those pilots. She can line up her choppers to capture a certain angle or a specific building.

Want to fly over your apartment? No problem. Brown says you can see a lot of New York in just 12 minutes, calling NYONair a "doors-off photo experience company."

Farrell and one of his Havas co-workers, Jason Peterson, came up with the idea for these photo experiences three years ago. At the time, NYONair was taking photos of the city and selling them as fine art photography. Farrell and Peterson's idea was to build NYONair's social media audience, and help grow the business by showing beautiful pictures on outlets like Instagram.

That idea has taken off. When they started, NYONair's Instagram feed had about 700 followers. Today it has over 466,000, which Farrell says, they grew organically. His own feed went from 400 followers to over 67,000.

We headed out on the tarmac for our own social media adventure just before sunset, wearing harnesses that are tethered to the helicopter. Our smartphones and cameras were attached to the harness. You can bring any device you choose to take photos on your flight. My shoes didn't have laces so they came off, for a barefoot ride.

The rain kicked up as we headed towards the Hudson and into Midtown Manhattan, around the Empire State Building, to Central Park, stopping on the East Side before heading back downtown. We flew back around lower Manhattan, past the World Trade Center and over the Statue of Liberty. Then we made our way back to the NYONair hangar in Kearney to let the next crew head out to chase their own Instagram glory.

NYONair operates flights in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

To book:
More about NYONair:


Lady Liberty... Photo Credit: A.Mo. (With a little help from @nyonair) @flynyon

A photo posted by Alison Morris (@alisonmfox5) on

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