April 6th, 2010
Reader Drew sent the below letter to Senator Squadron and City Councilmember Steve Levin who says that the recent reinstatement by Mayor Bloomberg of the ban on helicopter tours by Mayor Giuliani is ruining the atmosphere of the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge Park. We’ve noticed some of these choppers come very close to the bridge. Are they out of control? A copy of the letter after the jump.
On April 1st, 2010 Liberty Tours started operating all their Helicopter Tours from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport (DMH). The impact was immediately apparent in Brooklyn. The skies above us turned into something out of a war film. You can often see 4-5 helicopters in the air, and another 5-6 idling on the pad. On a recent trip to the waterfront I observed helicopters descending and ascending at a rate of 1 every 45 seconds. Take a look at this video to see what I mean…
Every chopper in the area affects the historic Brooklyn Promenade. The tourist choppers are the worst because they fly up and down the waterfront and leave on such a regular basis. Their incessant roar makes conversation on the Promenade unbearable. Things are even worse at the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge Park. The helicopters zoom right overhead like a scene out of Apocalypse Now. This community has worked for 20 years to get that park going and Mayor Bloomberg, with the help of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, ruined the whole atmosphere with the stroke of pen.
The narrowness of the river, between two densely packed landmasses, is an acoustic nightmare. The sound reverberates off the tall buildings in that tight corridor and can be heard throughout Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. The roar from these choppers arrives long before you see them and stays long after they disappear. The orientation of the heliport means pilots approach low and idle low over Brooklyn. The only way they can take take off is to head straight at the promenade or the park. In short, the decision to move the flights here from Chelsea with misguided.
We’ve been told by Patricia Ornst at the EDC that the tax revenue is more important than our quality of life. I hope you value our well being more than that, and can find a solution. I urge you ask Mayor Bloomberg to reinstate Mayor Giuliani’s Ban on Chopper Tours. We all know that tourists will come and spend money in this city with or without helicopter tours. If that is off the table, then reduce the flights to a small window during the day. The bottom line is this, no flight path along that East River corridor is acceptable. As long as tourist tours land at DMH, there are going to be noise issues in Brooklyn Heights, in Dumbo, on The Promenade, and at the new park. The only solution to the noise problem is a reduction in the number of flights.