Community Board 1 representing Lower Manhattan has unanimously passed a resolution calling for a reduction in the number of helicopter tours operating out of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport and for environmental studies of the air quality and noise levels at the heliport. The resolutions also cites the numerous ways in which these tours are in violation of federal and FAA regulations. For a full text of the resolution, please go here.
De Blasio’s door is open to lobbyists
by Yoav Gonen, NY Post, June 9, 2015 | 1:53am
Mayor de Blasio has met personally with a dozen lobbyists so far this year — most of them campaign supporters and just two shy of the 14 he huddled with in all of 2014, records show.
Leading the pack was last year’s highest-earning city lobbyist, James Capalino, who met with Hizzoner three times in the last three months.
Capalino hosted two fund-raisers for de Blasio’s successful mayoral run in 2013.
Clients who accompanied him to the meetings included Chinese real-estate and movie-theater mogul Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, and Janno Lieber, a top Silverstein Properties exec who bundled $11,100 for de Blasio two years ago.
Capalino most recently met with the mayor on May 28 on behalf of helicopter-tour operators in lower Manhattan — an opportunity that critics of the noisy flights say they haven’t gotten.
“It’s very discouraging but not surprising,” said Delia Von Neuschatz, a resident of Battery Park City who founded an advocacy group to halt the tours.
Other lobbyists/campaign supporters who met Hizzoner privately included Michael Woloz, who bundled nearly $237,000 for his campaign on behalf of the yellow-cab industry but who met with him on a doctors-union labor issue on Feb. 2.
The mayor has promised to voluntarily reveal his private meetings with lobbyists, but his office updated this year’s list only after multiple inquiries from The Post.
This 'Uber for helicopters' startup just flew into a fight over noise
by Jeff John Roberts, Fortune.com, May 21, 2015, 4:21 PM EDT
Blade, an Uber-style helicopter service that whisks passengers to posh destinations, has experienced some backlash over flight noise.
Some New Yorkers have a great trick to beat Memorial Day traffic: They pull up an app to summon Blade, an Uber-style helicopter service that whisks passengers to posh destinations like the Hamptons. The trip is made more pleasant thanks to sippy cups of rosé and other little perks furnished by Blade. The service is such a hit that well-heeled investors, including Google’s Eric Schmidt and IAC’s Barry Diller, just plunked down $25 million to help it grow.
But not everyone is rooting for Blade to succeed. Some New Yorkers hate the very idea of it—and not because it’s yet another tech startup aimed at the rich. Manon Gauthier, a film editor who lives in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, described her beef.
“I don’t like helicopters at all. It seems that there are more and more of them in Park Slope. I don’t remember hearing them when I first moved here nine to 10 years ago,” Gauthier says. “With the police interventions, tourist tours and the Hamptons commuters my residential neighborhood is getting more and more noisy.”
Gauthier is hardly the only one who has grown fed up with the constant whup-whup-whup over their heads. A coalition called “Stop the Chop,” founded in 2013, is mustering pressure to bring down the helicopters.
The group’s president, Delia Von Neuschatz, says the choppers bring virtually no economic benefit to New York, while creating a major nuisance for the millions of people who live under their flight paths. She adds that Stop the Chop, which has 2000 members drawn from riverside neighborhoods like Battery Park and Brooklyn Heights, is using its newfound non-profit status to raise money and muster political and legal challenges.
Von Neuschatz also says that Blade is less of a nuisance than the sight-seeing helicopters that swarm city skies, but that the problem is already out of control. “The commuter traffic is only a fraction, but the last thing the city needs is more helicopter traffic,” she says. “Absolutely, it will exacerbate things.”
Blade did not reply to repeated request for comment. The Eastern Regional Helicopter Council, a lobby group for the industry, said in a statement that “the helicopter industry is a critical contributor to the regional economy and to our region’s emergency response infrastructure,” adding, “Our industry has dramatically improved safety and reduced noise in this air space and continues to do so.”
A fight for helipads
For Blade and other aspiring “Uber-for-helicopter” services (including Uber itself), the key to making it work is not so much access to choppers, but in finding a place for them to land.
Even in tech-obsessed San Francisco, for instance, helicopter services are virtually a no-go as a result of citizen opposition. (Last year, the city reportedly obtained its first heliport in two decades, but one that will be restricted for medical services.)
Even Uber has come up short in making its “Chopper” service fly in San Francisco. A source familiar with the company last year said that regulations had stymied its efforts, and that Uber was contemplating barge options in the Bay.
In New York, however, three heliports in lower Manhattan are wide open for business. Well, for now at least.
Opponents have lined up support from city officials and local members of Congress to terminate the contract of the company operating most of the helicopters in the city. Stop the Chop’s Von Neuschatz claims Mayor Bill De Blasio could easily ground the choppers, but won’t do so for reasons that are “incomprehensible.” A spokesman for De Blasio’s office said he would look into the matter but failed to offer a formal comment.
The bottom line for now, then, is that Blade’s New York customers can probably sip their rosé in peace for the time being. But if the company wants to expand to other major urban areas, it will likely face a heliport-by-heliport battle.
NYC plans to spend $4 million of taxpayers' money on upkeep of the city-owned Downtown Manhattan HeliportRead Now
Why is taxpayer money being spent on a public heliport which is primarily used by private, for-profit companies such as the tourist and commuter helicopter companies? New Yorkers are in effect subsidizing the torture caused by these flights.
Researchers say noise in parks is very detrimental to people and animals. The National Park Service has power to regulate noise. Why isn't the NPS controlling tourist chopper noise on Governors Island?Read Now
Researchers discuss how human-generated noise affects the natural world—and us.
Nathan Collins Feb 18, 2015
Global warming, clean water, and growing global population are some of today's most pressing environmental issues. That list should be updated, it seems, as noise and light pollution have become major global concerns, a panel of researchers said on Monday.
Both noise pollution and light pollution have actually been pressing issues for a while, though they haven't received the attention of other environmental causes. That may change, however, with a set of new studies and reports on background noise and light from cars, airplanes, and other sources both in parks and around the country.
"Both noise and light pollution are growing far faster than the human population in the United States—they're somewhere between doubling and tripling every 30 years.""The Park Service regards both the night sky environment and the natural sound environment as physical resources that must be protected under the [National Park Service] Organic Act of 1916," says Kurt Fristrup, a senior scientist at the Park Service's Division of Natural Sounds and Night Skies. The Organic Act explains that all resources must be left "unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
"Applying that to acoustics is a rather new thing," Fristrup says, but sound is as much a part of the "expansive experience" of a National Park as the views. Fristrup and his team deployed 600 sound meters in parks to record noise and combined that with additional data from airport noise monitors. Then, Fristrup's group used a computer model to estimate how much background noise there would be at any point in the United States.
"Where we are heading with this research is to begin to understand just what are the opportunities and costs of those elevated background sound levels due to noise," Fristrup says. "Both noise and light pollution are growing far faster than the human population in the United States—they're somewhere between doubling and tripling every 30 years."
Increases in "this ubiquitous sensory pollution that is noise pollution" can have significant negative effects on the natural environment, says Cal Poly biologist Clinton Francis, whose work takes advantage of the fact that some natural gas wells employ "very noisy" pumping systems to study a variety of effects on species distribution, animal behavior, and community-level ecological processes. For example, the Western Scrub Jay distributes a "foundational" southwestern seed of the Piñon Pine tree group, but it appears as if "noise pollution is causing a large-scale decline in Piñon Pine seed dispersal."
Not all the effects are exactly bad, though. Hummingbirds seem to like the noise, aiding the pollination of flowers in noisier areas, though noise is generally bad for birds. "Impacts on birds are pretty severe," Francis says, in a wide variety of environments.
Hudson County officials and lawmakers back bill to ban tourist helicopters from ‘Wild West’ airspace
By Chase Brush | 02/18/15 2:22pm
WEEHAWKEN — Stonewalled in their efforts at the federal level, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and a scrum of Hudson County politicos announced today the latest push to curtail the growth of tourist helicopter traffic along the Hudson River — this time with a bill in Trenton that would seek to ban tourist helicopters at state-licensed aviation facilities.
“We all know how beautiful New Jersey is, how beautiful the metropolitan area of New York and New Jersey is, and how majestic the Hudson is. And some would like to see it from the air,” Menendez said today. “But we can’t have a sky full of helicopters without absolute certainty of the safety of the passengers and people along the flight paths.”
At the N.Y. Waterway ferry terminal here, Menendez and U.S. Reps. Albio Sires (D-08) and Jerrold Nadler, of New York, joined Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-32) and others to unveil the new legislation, which would ask New Jersey state transportation commissioner Jamie Fox to prohibit tourist helicopter operations at aviation facilities licensed by the state. Officials decried the use of tourist helicopters along Hudson County’s highly congested waterfront, arguing that they threaten the quality of life and public safety of residents living there.
“It’s a safety and a quality of life issue for New Jersey,” said Prieto, adding he decided to take up the issue after negotiations by Menendez and Sires at the federal level didn’t pan out.
Prieto is sponsoring the bill along with state Sen. Nick Sacco (D-32), chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, to follow up on those calls for federal action by Menendez, Sires and Nadler last year. The group held a similar press conference on the issue in October, when Menendez and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sires sent a letter to the heads of the Federal Aviation Administration and New Jersey Department of Transportation to “provide guidance on additional authority needed to implement and enforce a ban on tour helicopters that present public nuisance and safety concerns.”
“On any given day however flying over them is a growing swarm of news copters, medivac copters, and sightseeing copters, all competing for the same space,” Menendez said.
The new legislation would help curb the use of tourist helicopters, officials said, by urging the state to rescind or deny licences to the many state-regulated aviation facilities they rely on. It also authorizes and requires the Department of Transportation to take action to eliminates the noise, safety hazards and other negative impacts on the quality of life of residents caused by tourist helicopter traffic.
A whole host of Hudson County lawmakers and officials attended the conference to support the measure, including Sires, Nadler, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, West New York Mayor Felix Roque, and Hudson County freeholders Anthony Romano and Junior Maldonado, among others.
“I live in one of the homes facing New York, and I can tell you that sometimes I think I can wave to the pilot they’re so low as they fly by,” Sires said. “This is the gold coast. This is an are that has taken off like no other place in the country. People’s health and safety should not be compromised because people want to see New York in the summer.”
Zimmer, who together with Menendez and Sires has been working to fight tourist helicopters for over two years, said the issue has come to a head and the time is ripe to take action.
“The fact is that the helicopter tourism industry is making a profit at the expense of hundreds of thousand of the residents that call Hudson County home,” she said. “We don’t want that and we can’t wait anymore.”
Nadler echoed the sentiment, likening the air over Manhattan and the Hudson to the ‘Wild West’ for the amount of poorly-regulated traffic it receives.
“Sadly, the airspace above New York City and northern New Jersey seems more like the Wild West than the airspace above one of the most populated and congested metropolitan areas in America,” Nadler said, who is leading similar efforts to ban tourist helicopter traffic in New York.”
Not everyone agrees with the outright ban of helicopter tourism traffic, however. Members of the industry argue it is an important component of the metropolitan region’s economy, and that the new legislation would stamp out the industry’s ability to create revenue and jobs.
“The helicopter industry is a critical contributor to the New Jersey and New York economies – and to our region’s emergency response infrastructure,” said Vice President Jeff Smith of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council in a statement following the press conference. “Our industry has worked to dramatically improve safety and reduce noise in this air space. This legislation would cost New Jersey and New York hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity, and it will needlessly ban an industry that has been and will continue to be a responsible partner in safeguarding the public.”
For Hudson County political animals, the press conference was another example of the relative unity that has befallen the Gold Coasts’ frequently battle-scarred political landscape. Last week, many of the faces that could be found here today could also be spied at Degise’s labor party in Jersey City. Up for re-election this year, the veteran politico, backed by the Hudson County Democratic Organization, is striding toward November unopposed.
Today, Fulop, a potential gubernatorial candidate in 2017, called the conference a “great example of government working together.”
East Hampton's town board recently let federal grants for its airport expire at the end of 2014, promising not to apply for new ones. The decision, following years of mounting complaints (25,000+ in 2014), is a victory for local residents fed up with the noise generated by the heavy summer traffic of private jets and helicopters.
Read the full story in the NY Times:
As Din of Aircraft Grows, East Hampton Reclaims Power to Regulate Airport,
by James Barron, JAN. 4, 2015
EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. — Frank Dalene never put the sign on the roof, the big no-trespassing sign that he wanted helicopter pilots approaching the East Hampton airport to read if they circled too low over his house.
Fed up with walls that shuddered and shook, and conversations that were drowned out by the thunder of helicopter engines, he had a yellow-and-black sign in mind that would read, “If you are below 700 feet, you are trespassing on my property.”
Now, he said, the sign had become unnecessary, because four of the five members of the town board promised not to apply for any more federal grants for the airport. The town’s last grant expired on Wednesday, and on Thursday, town officials said they had reclaimed the power to set airport rules and regulations, including limits on takeoffs and landings — a power they said they had surrendered to the Federal Aviation Administration under the terms of the grants. The fine print prevented them from restricting airport operations.
“That’s the gist of it,” said the town supervisor, Larry Cantwell.
Photo An airplane takes off from the airport in East Hampton, N.Y. Credit Gordon M. Grant for The New York Times And so the next round in the noise war at the East Hampton airport began quietly, with nothing more than the sound of a calendar page turning.
Mr. Cantwell said the town had received more than 25,000 complaints about noise at the airport in 2014, more, he said, than the complaints about noise at far busier airfields like Logan International Airport in Boston or O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. Day in and day out, those airports handle commercial jets far larger than could land on the 4,255-foot-long main runway in East Hampton.
But East Hampton sees a parade of private jets and helicopters, especially in warm weather, and residents like Mr. Dalene say it is a parade they hear.
In 2014, the town received 797 noise complaints during the Fourth of July weekend, up from 189 for the days around that holiday in 2013. A tally for August of this year showed 2,258 noise complaints, with roughly one complaint for every two helicopter takeoffs or landings (and helicopters accounted for half of all the complaints). There were about 1.6 complaints for every jet arrival and departure; for propeller-driven aircraft, including seaplanes, there was roughly one complaint for every 10.
The same tally suggested that homeowners were making their frustration known: The 2,258 complaints came from only 138 households. Some people in East Hampton say that reflects the us-versus-them mentality that divides Manhattanites with summer homes from those who live here all year.
Mr. Dalene started keeping track of helicopter noise in 2008 and was a co-founder of the Quiet Skies Coalition, a group of eastern Long Island residents who say a surge in flights in the last few years has disrupted their lives. “We’re coming to a consensus as to what the solutions are,” Mr. Dalene said.
He sees helicopters as a particular scourge, particularly with the debut of services with smartphone apps for bookings. But he does not want the airport shut down completely.
“As hard as I am fighting to oppose these helicopters, I will fight to preserve this airport for pilots because this is the airport I love," Mr. Dalene said. “I’m not against the airport. I love the airport, but I love it for what it once was.”
It once was an airport for small planes with weekend pilots at the controls, but it has become another sign of the money that is drawn to the Hamptons. Helicopters and private jets cut the travel time to Manhattan and avoid the crowded roads.
Photo The terminal at the East Hampton airport was quiet on Christmas Day. Credit Gordon M. Grant for The New York Times Mr. Cantwell said helicopter traffic had increased 47 percent in 2014 from 2013.
He said one of his constituents had invited him over for a drink in the backyard on a Friday evening. As he sipped wine and chatted, or tried to, as many as a dozen helicopters flew overhead on their way to the airport. “It was disturbing, nerve-racking noise,” he said. “If you’re directly impacted by traffic flying at reasonably low altitudes, yeah, helicopter noise is very disturbing.”
Peter M. Wolf, an urban planner, compared the noise from aircraft to the pollution of an aquifer, the underground layer of rock and sand that stores groundwater.
“If you had a single location that’s polluting all the water in a community,” he said, “you’d want to do something about it. Well, we have a single source that’s polluting a peaceful environment and to some extent the air in a community. Something needs to be done about it.”
He and Kenneth Lipper, an investment banker who was a deputy mayor of New York City during Edward I. Koch’s administration, have suggested banning helicopters and seaplanes in the months when demand is highest — May through October.
They have also called to limit takeoffs and landings to four per hour, and they want the airport’s hours to be shorter than those at many banks, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mr. Wolf said he and Mr. Lipper had hired lawyers, who had concluded that the town could impose such restrictions.
Even some helicopter operators have suggested restrictions. Kurt Carlson, the chief executive of Heliflite, one of the charter helicopter companies that serve the airport, has met with town officials and suggested wider approach and departure routes at peak times. That would provide some relief for homes that are in what are now fairly rigid flight patterns. He said in an interview that the town could also raise landing fees during peak periods as a way to discourage traffic.
Mr. Cantwell, the town supervisor, said the grants that expired at the end of 2014 had totaled “a few million dollars.” But one analysis prepared for the town indicated that the airport could support itself and even borrow money to do capital improvements without money from the F.A.A., or from local property taxes. Another analysis mentioned potential new sources of revenue, including vacant industrial-park sites on town-owned land adjacent to the airport.
Mr. Cantwell said he expected the town board to decide on what action to take before the weather turned warm and pilots began putting the airport’s coordinates into their navigation systems.
“It’s not the town board’s agenda to close it,” he said. “We’re just trying to react to the 25,000 or more complaints we’re receiving.”
Copter Buzz Pits NYC Tourists Against Waterfront Dwellers
By Elise Young Nov 3, 2014 12:01 AM ET
Five tourists, their noise-canceling headphones set to stream Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me” over a helicopter’s roar, glide past Governors Island and the Statue of Liberty, then north to Yankee Stadium.
Twenty-five minutes later, they’re back at a downtown Manhattan heliport, taking photos as the next passengers wait, hands over their ears.
The racket, temporary for visitors, is part of life for New Jerseyans and New Yorkers who live along the Hudson River flight path, their walls rattling and their barbecues ruined. Though the daily trips -- as many as 200 over 10 hours -- generate about $33 million a year in tourism spending, the residents say no amount of revenue is worth the aural assault.
“Sitting outside at a restaurant, you have to stop your conversation every 5 seconds to be heard,” said Delia von Neuschatz, a writer in her 40s who said she regrets leaving the Upper East Side 18 months ago for Battery Park City, at the southern tip of Manhattan.
Co-founder of a 2,000-member group called Stop the Chop NYNJ, von Neuschatz has never done the chopper trip. They typically take 12 to 20 minutes, cost $175 to $225 per passenger and show a Manhattan view unrivaled by any double-decker bus tour.
“There is no way I would contribute a dime to these people,” she said by telephone on Oct. 24.
Ol’ Blue Eyes Around Hoboken, where Wagner says helicopters cause the walls of his apartment to shake within a four-story brownstone, the music stream fades from the bossa nova of “The Girl from Ipanema,” and for the rest of trip it’s Sinatra, who was born in that New Jersey city.
“I was probably mentally shaking my fist at your helicopter,” von Neuschatz says by e-mail.
Though opposition to helicopters has sprung up in such tourist destinations as Los Angeles, London and Hawaii, Stop the Chop says the noise in the New York City area is the most constant and affects at least 2 million residents, far more than elsewhere. Even New Yorkers who kvetch about Manhattan-to-East Hampton copter charters, which charge as much as $7,700 round trip, get a break when beach season ends.
Manhattan Views In New Jersey, Stop the Chop has support from 10 riverside mayors, including those in Hoboken and Jersey City, where $2 million-plus high-rise apartments are marketed on their Manhattan views. Democratic U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker sent a letter Aug. 8 to Federal Aviation Administration chief Michael Huerta, saying that if a tourist helicopter ban were beyond the agency’s powers, they would take the matter to Congress.
Jim Peters, an FAA spokesman based in Jamaica, New York, said by e-mail on Oct. 29 that the agency “will respond directly” to Menendez. He declined to comment on a resolution in support of a ban that New Jersey lawmakers approved in October.
Stop the Chop and elected officials also are appealing to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, asking him to shut down the city-owned heliport.
“The status quo of largely unregulated flights that endanger tourists and disturb the peace in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island and New Jersey neighborhoods is unacceptable,” according to an Aug. 8 letter signed by 21 elected officials from New York, including U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velazquez and state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, all Democrats.
Complaints Down De Blasio’s communications staff didn’t respond to a phone call and e-mails for comment. Ian Fried, a spokesman for the New York City Economic Development Corp., which estimates $33 million in spending generated by the tours’ five vendors, said related noise complaints have dropped 80 percent from when they began in 2010.
“The great majority of helicopter noise complaints are actually connected to emergency services, news, charter and other kinds of helicopter traffic,” Fried said in an e-mail.
Brian Tolbert, manager of the heliport for Avoca, Pennsylvania-based Saker Aviation Services Inc., didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Tourist Draw From April to October 2013, there were 33,378 tourist flights from the heliport, for a six-month daily average of 184, according to Stop the Chop, which cited data from a public-records request. Jeff Smith, chairman of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council, a Colonia, New Jersey-based lobbying group, says the 12-month average is 120 to 130 daily flights, and can exceed 200 on holidays.
“We take noise complaints seriously,” Smith said by telephone on Oct. 23.
Smith said safety is foremost. After nine people were killed in the August 2009 collision of a small private plane and a tourist helicopter above the Hudson River, the FAA mandated speed and altitude standards and more pilot training.
At the heliport on Oct. 28, Rob Walker, a 27-year-old customer service manager from Manchester, England, was about to check in with his wife, Becky Walker, a 31-year-old retail manager. They received a flight certificate as a gift for their wedding in August, and said they weren’t aware that residents were campaigning for a ban.
“That would really annoy me,” Rob Walker said as he considered the noise along the flight path. “But you need the tourists. You’re going to need that money.”
October 6, 2014
By Michael Gartland, Ben Feuerherd and Rebecca Harshbarger
Low-flying helicopters are sitting ducks that can easily be commandeered by terrorists posing as tourists or shot down from the ground by fanatics with rifles, a group opposing the flights charged Sunday.
“It’s a disaster waiting to happen,” said Delia von Neuschatz, president of Stop the Chop NYNJ.
Von Neuschatz and dozens of elected officials have been pushing Mayor de Blasio for seven months to end the nearly 300 flights that leave everyday from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport. But their pleas, she said, have so far fallen on deaf ears.
“He hasn’t done anything,” said von Neuschatz, who lives in Battery Park City. “Anyone can board one of these choppers. There’s just no security oversight.’’
City Councilman Mark Levine agreed.
“On a commercial airline, there’s a locked and bullet-proof door that protects the pilot,’’ Levine said. “On these helicopters, passengers have free access to the pilots, so it’s pretty easy to imagine a passenger overpowering a pilot.”
Screeners at the helipad, located on an East River pier off Broad Street, use a wand to scan for weapons. But passengers are free to carry sharp nonmetal objects, like pens and pencils, and aren’t patted down.
“These helicopters are low-hanging fruit as they fly so low and close to countless buildings on both sides of the Hudson River,’’ Von Neuschatz said. “It wouldn’t take much for a sniper’s bullet to hit them.”
Tourists waiting to hop on flights recently said security should be tighter, even if it means longer waits.
“You’d have to arrive two hours ahead of schedule instead of 30 minutes,” said Brian Hamilton, 27, of Australia. “But I wouldn’t mind having to wait through that.”
Levine insisted it was all in de Blasio’s hands.
“The mayor has the ability to close this down entirely,” he said. “Increased security concerns in the city, I think, give this issue new urgency.’’
According to the city’s contract with helipad operator First Flight Inc., which now does business as Saker Aviation Services, the city has the power to “terminate this agreement upon 25 days prior written notice.”
Saker’s director of operations, Brian Tolbert, described the safety concerns as “definitely not valid.”
Mayoral spokesman Phil Walzak said the issue is being “reviewed.”
Stop the Chop NYNJ is a local grassroots coalition of NY and NJ residents seeking to educate the public about the adverse effects of helicopters sightseeing tours on the environment and on the health and welfare of the two million people living underneath their Hudson River flight path.