In the spring of 2004 I took a flight from the airport in Greenville, South Carolina to New York's LaGuardia. I was going to visit my step-grandmother, a woman I had become close to over the years. She was dying of cancer, and this would be one of the last chances I would have to see her. I had taken a weekend flight, as I had several times before, in order to have a couple of days to spend with her in her apartment in the Bronx. For several minutes of that flight, however, it was not her death that concerned me, but my own.
The approach to LaGuardia's runway usually goes from east to west. When we fly up from South Carolina, the plane veers right over Brooklyn and Queens, then turns back around to the left towards Manhattan, and makes its descent. From the left side of the plane, where I usually sat, one could see the Manhattan skyline as one turned towards Brooklyn. On this particular day, that is exactly what happened, until we were about to land.
Then the plane began ascending once again, heading towards Manhattan. There was no announcement from the flight deck, but it was clear we were going to midtown. I could see the Empire State Building in front of us, a bit to the left.