Surprise, Downtowners are NOT complaining about chopper noise
Concerned about the impact of increased tourist helicopter traffic at the Downtown Heliport, Manhattan and Brooklyn elected officials are calling on the city to reduce the number of flights.
All tourist helicopter flights in the city are now taking off from the Downtown Heliport at South St. near Broad St., since as of April 1 the flights were banned at the W. 30th St. Heliport based on a lawsuit settlement. The Downtown Heliport has seen about 8 percent more flights this spring compared to last spring, said David Lombino, spokesperson for the city Economic Development Corp. The E.D.C. has received noise complaints from Brooklyn residents but none from Lower Manhattan, Lombino said.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron and U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, whose districts include Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, and other politicians wrote a letter to Mayor Bloomberg last week, asking him to reexamine tourist flights and possibly eliminate them entirely. They also want the city to create a clearer 311 system for collecting complaints, and they are asking the city to reassess the security risks of storing 4,000 gallons of fuel at the Downtown Heliport. The fuel storage has already been approved by the N.Y.P.D.’s counter-terrorism unit.
Lombino said the city is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to address the politicians’ concerns and would release a plan in a few weeks. The F.A.A. controls the airspace around the city, so even a citywide ban on helicopters would not prevent flights from taking off across the river in New Jersey and hovering over Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn.