New York City Council takes aim at helicopter noise

Photo credit: SevenStorm JUHASZIMRUS

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

New York State is waiting for the governor to sign a bill that will reduce helicopter flights in New York City, and now the New York City Council will be considering a bill that would “ban all non-essential helicopter flights from the Wall Street and East 34th Street heliports.” Included in the proposed ban would be trips to the airport and the Hamptons.

Melissa Elstein, and Andrew Rosenthal of Stop the Chop NY/NJ, the group advocating for this legislation, and City Council co-sponsors, Lincoln Restler and Gale Brewer, and others met recently to announce this legislation. Joining the cry to ban the helicopters was a New Jersey resident who noted that during the tourist season helicopters were flying “every three minutes over our houses, at a height of between 200 and 300 feet.”

We know that helicopter noise can adversely affect the health and well-being of individuals living in neighborhoods subjected to the sounds of these intrusive overhead helicopters. However, as Adrian Benepe, former New York City Park’s Commissioner pointed out, the noise of the overhead helicopters affects all New Yorkers when they intrude on their ability to enjoy the city’s parks and public places. Rosenthal would add that park concerts are disrupted by these overhead noises.

Adrian Benepe told Brooklyn Eagle readers that Mayor Adams has the ability to end the heliport contracts and hopes that he will after studying the issue. So now New Yorkers have a state bill pending, legislation in the City Council, and possible action from Mayor Adams to look to for a reduction in helicopter noise. Let us hope that it won’t be long for one or more of these potential solutions to be enacted.

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