Site of the Pan Am Helipad in New York City, New York

High atop the 59-story MetLife Building in Midtown Manhattan, a disused landing pad recalls the period when New Yorkers commuted by helicopter. From 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., flocks of roaring choppers once alighted here, to the delight of their passengers and the equal fury of disturbed office workers. The controversial helicopter service ultimately met its end in bloodshed and tragedy.

The downtown helipad operated in two phases, from 1963 to 1965, and later in 1977, when the tower was...

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