Courtesy of Blade
Samantha Shankman
September 24, 2015

For the next three days, the great isle of Manhattan plays host to Pope Francis—and, of course, his legions of American devotees. To allow room for the procession, dozens of streets will be closed, and bus lines will be redirected. For those New Yorkers dreading the daily commute—or visitors just desiring a bit of elbow room—there’s a rather intriguing way to bypass the crowds. Blade, the so-called Uber of helicopters, is helping New Yorkers and visitors by offering $95 rides for the 5 to 8-minute flight between West 30th Street and East 34th Street.

Flights are available between 7:45 a.m. and 10 a.m. for morning rush hour and again between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. for evening rush hour.

An extra bonus? The helicopters will fly around the southern tip of Manhattan, giving riders a spectacular view of the city that can cost hundreds during a typical helicopter tour.

There will be extra security at the lounges (given the profile of the city’s weekend guests), which means passengers will be screened by the TSA and only purses and briefcases are allowed onboard. Unlike Blade’s usual service to summer hotspots, no alcohol will be allowed in-flight.

There are, of course, other ways to make sure you’re not stuck in a cab for 45 minutes between 5th and 6th Avenues:

1. Skip midtown altogether.
2. Ride a bike. There are multiple Citibike stations on 11th Avenue and 1st Avenue. See a full map of Citibike stations here.
3. Walk. The trek between 11th and 1st Avenue would take 40 minutes on an average day. It’ll take closer to an hour tomorrow, but you’ll have stories to tell your grandchildren about the chaos that day.
4. Subway. The 7 Line was recently extended to reach Manhattan’s newest station in Hudson Yards. Travelers can get from Grand Central on Park Avenue to 11th Avenue totally underground.

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