Jets are in an Empire State of Mind

By Marc A. Greenberg

The New York Jets got an up close and personal view of the Empire State Building Sunday night upon their return from New England.

As the team’s flight headed toward Newark Airport, the captain asked for permission to fly towards the building, so that the Jets players could get the million dollar view.

“Well, I’ve had an unusual request,” the captain relayed to the airport tower. “If it’s green and white, these guys actually want to get as close as we could to see it.”

“You guys are awesome,” the captain said. “And I will tell you later who said that.” Turns out, it was head coach Rex Ryan.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said it was a perfect end to the day.

“For the Empire State Building to be lit green and white was already special,” Tannenbaum said. “Then for everyone involved to allow us to have a view on our way back was a great ending for our trip and something that the team will always remember.”

The route change that brought the Boeing 767 within clear view of the building required special permission to stray into La Guardia’s airspace, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said.

The tower later alerted the Jets’ jet as it neared the city’s tallest building.

“Taking you down the west side of the building down the Hudson,” the controller said. “Empire State Building should be at 11 o’clock.”

“It’s beautiful,” the flight captain said. “Yeah, we’ve got 200 people looking at it. A beautiful night for it, too. Really appreciate it, guys.”

“Glad to do it,” the tower said.

“It’s kind of cool,” said Ray Adams, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association at Newark. “It wasn’t a typical flight path, but it does happen,” he said.