Working on this issue since 2012, State Senator Tony Avella has held meetings with the FAA and Port Authority, including a recent meeting with congressional representatives.
However, the issue of noise from helicopters flying over neighborhoods like Whitestone and Bay Terrace on their way to and from Long Island has only gotten worse.
“These helicopter flights are not a necessity or urgency,” said Bay Terrace resident Warren Schreiber. “They are not important medical flights, they are people vacationing out east. It is not right that their enjoyment results in the people underneath the helicopter routes getting victimized.”
“We have been burdened for four years, it has really been a battle,” added George Mirtsopoulos, vice president of We Love Whitestone Civic Association. “Sometimes these helicopters are so loud the house literally shakes, and at peak there can be almost 40 helicopters per hour.”
Avella recently discovered that the major heliports in New York City - the East 34th Street heliport, the downtown Manhattan/Wall Street heliport, and the West 34th Street heliport - are owned by either city or state entities.
The East 34th and downtown Manhattan/Wall Street heliport are owned by the EDC and the West 34th Street heliport is owned by the Hudson River Park Trust, which is a partnership between New York State and New York City and acts as a public benefit corporation.
Avella is requesting that both EDC and the Hudson River Park Trust implement a cap on the number of incoming and outgoing flights, and take a more active role in exerting more oversight on the helicopter operators that use these helipads.
“It is not fair that the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of residents are affected by low-flying helicopters,” said Avella. “These operators must be held accountable by someone other than their own internal associations to ensure they are acting properly within the operation of their business.”