After a brief moment of bliss due to the Kovid-19 epidemic, New Yorkers are once again dealing with a familiar problem: noisy helicopters.
“With big helicopters, my apartment vibrates,” said Melissa Elstein, who campaigns to ban unnecessary chopper flights.
“They pollute our air, which creates noise pollution with negative health effects,” the 56-year-old told AFP.
New Yorkers regularly flock to the sky with a whirlwind of helicopters while tourists view the city from above during short, expensive, sightseeing tours.
They carry wealthy residents eager to avoid traffic jams on their way from the beach in the Hamptons to holiday homes.
Elstein is far from the only New Yorker to be unhappy with the tens of thousands of flights a year.
Last year, the city received 25,821 calls to its hotline complaining of helicopter noise, an increase from 10,359 in 2020.
The majority of the complaints – 21,620 – came from Manhattan.
May get some respite.
Earlier this month, the New York State Legislature passed a bill that would penalize companies $ 10,000 a day for producing “unreasonable” noise levels.
If Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the law, it would be the first piece of state legislation to tackle noise pollution by helicopters.
Senator Brad Hoyleman, who sponsored the bill, said: “Many New Yorkers can no longer work from home comfortably, walk across the waterfront or sleep a sleeping child because of the inevitable helicopter use of constant noise and vibrations.”
He noted that a helicopter produces about 43 times more carbon dioxide per hour than an average car.
“The noise of the helicopter is not just annoying, it is detrimental to our health and our environment,” Hoyleman said in a statement.
For Andy Rosenthal – president of Stop the Chop, a volunteer organization that wants to ban unnecessary helicopter flights – the legislation doesn’t go far enough.
“It’s a good first step. (But) it’s not as we expected. The fight will continue,” he said.
New York City has three active heliports: two in the Midtown of the Hudson and East Rivers, one for corporate and chartered flights, and the other near Wall Street in Manhattan, which offers tourist flights.
A 15-20 minute aerial view of New York costs at least $ 200 per visitor.
Amid complaints, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration agreed with the industry to reduce the number of tourist flights from 60,000 to 30,000 a year starting in 2017.
He restricted tourists from New York City to airspace on rivers around Manhattan, forbidding them to land.
Sightseeing helicopters departing from New Jersey are allowed to fly over Manhattan, including Central Park.
Passenger flights departing from New York City are also allowed to fly directly over buildings.
“This is an industry that doesn’t have to exist, shouldn’t exist. (Only) for the benefit of a few,” said Elstein.
However, some residents are accustomed to the voice and agree that it is true that they live in America’s bustling economic, cultural and tourism capital.
“It’s a background noise,” said Mark Roberge, who lives near Heliport on the southern tip of Manhattan.
“It seems to be part of the experience.”