The Real Deal New York

What it’s like to fly a seaplane to the Hamptons

Check out the photos after the jump

June 01, 2014 09:00AM
By Business Insider

Aerial view of mansions in the Hamptons

Aerial view of mansions in the Hamptons

WEEKENDEDITION For New Yorkers, there’s nothing better than escaping the city on a hot summer weekend. But getting out of town is another story.

Anyone who’s ever tried to get to the Hamptons on a Friday afternoon knows the traffic on the Long Island Expressway can be hellish, and Long Island Rail Road ticket lines at Penn Station are even worse.

There is, however, another way to hightail it from the city to the Hamptons: by seaplane. Not only is it a quick, 40-minute (or so) hop from the East River seaport to destinations out east, there’s no chance of traffic or rowdy neighbors, and the view is pretty spectacular.

There’s also the small matter of cost.

Fly The Whale, one of several companies that offers seaplane service in the New York area, charges $3,700 for a 9-person charter flight from Manhattan to East Hampton, and single seats on “shared” charters for $550. The company also flies to Westhampton, Shelter Island, Montauk, and other Hamptons towns.

Last year, I took a Fly The Whale seaplane from Manhattan to Sag Harbor to tour a new luxury condo complex. It sure beat Penn Station at rush hour.

Disclosure: Sag Development Partners, the owners of the Watchcase development in Sag Harbor, paid for my travel expenses.

My trip started from the marina at 23rd Street and the FDR on the East River. I took the subway and walked a few blocks, but if I was a seaplane regular, my limo would have dropped me off here.

my-trip-started-from-the-marina-at-23rd-street-and-the-fdr-on-the-east-river-i-took-the-subway-and-walked-a-few-blocks-but-if-i-was-a-seaplane-regular-my-limo-would-have-dropped-me-off-here

The seaplane terminal is pretty nondescript. The corrugated iron building and barbed wire didn’t exactly make me feel like a high-roller.

the-seaplane-terminal-is-pretty-nondescript-the-corrugated-iron-building-and-barbed-wire-didnt-exactly-make-me-feel-like-a-high-roller

It was just a short walk from the “skyport” to the river. I passed a couple of yachts available for charter: One was being rented for a high school prom that evening.

it-was-just-a-short-walk-from-the-skyport-to-the-river-i-passed-a-couple-of-yachts-available-for-charter-one-was-being-rented-for-a-high-school-prom-that-evening

Our large group of reporters filled two seaplanes, which can hold eight passengers each.

our-large-group-of-reporters-filled-two-seaplanes-which-can-hold-eight-passengers-each

Our plane, an amphibious Cessna Caravan, was pretty compact inside.

our-plane-an-amphibious-cessna-caravan-was-pretty-compact-inside

Taking off from the water was surprisingly smooth. We taxied out from the pier, turned south, and were in the air in minutes.

taking-off-from-the-water-was-surprisingly-smooth-we-taxied-out-from-the-pier-turned-south-and-were-in-the-air-in-minutes

In no time, we were headed out along the north shore of Long Island.

in-no-time-we-were-headed-out-along-the-north-shore-of-long-island

The view quickly went from urban to suburban. We flew along at about 1,500 feet, low enough to get a good look at the mansions of Long Island’s Gold Coast.

the-view-quickly-went-from-urban-to-suburban-we-flew-along-at-about-1500-feet-low-enough-to-get-a-good-look-at-the-mansions-of-long-islands-gold-coast

We flew over King’s Point and Sand’s Point, the wealthy North Shore villages memorialized as “East Egg” and “West Egg” in “The Great Gatsby.”

we-flew-over-kings-point-and-sands-point-the-wealthy-north-shore-villages-memorialized-as-east-egg-and-west-egg-in-the-great-gatsby

Had we taken a car, this trip would have taken just over two hours — without traffic.

had-we-taken-a-car-this-trip-would-have-taken-just-over-two-hours--without-traffic

After about 30 minutes in the air, we spotted our destination: The Sag Harbor Marina. The village is on the northern side of south fork, between Bridgehampton and East Hampton.

after-about-30-minutes-in-the-air-we-spotted-our-destination-the-sag-harbor-marina-the-village-is-on-the-northern-side-of-south-fork-between-bridgehampton-and-east-hampton

The seaplane landing was quick and smooth. In no time, we were floating in the marina and tying up to a buoy. That’s Steve, our seaplane pilot.

the-seaplane-landing-was-quick-and-smooth-in-no-time-we-were-floating-in-the-marina-and-tying-up-to-a-buoy-thats-steve-our-seaplane-pilot

  • sharma

    BFD – I used to take the seaplane to fire island in the 70′s

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        you a whore

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