On June 6, City Hall representatives met with 20+ NYC elected officials representing large swaths of Brooklyn and Manhattan to address the issue of helicopter noise. The attendees included: Congressman Jerrold Nadler and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assembly Members Denny Farrell, Feliz Ortiz and Linda Rosenthal along with Council Members Mark Levine, Stephen Levin and Carlos Menchaca. Representatives from the offices of US Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand were also there as was Leslie Koch from the Trust for Governors Island. While the Administration made no commitments, it promised to study the situation further and to schedule another meeting later this summer. The time for meetings and information-gathering is over!
Why are narrow special interests being put ahead of the health and well-being of thousands upon thousands of New Yorkers, especially in light of the city-wide opposition to the helicopter tour industry? Why does the unelected NYC Economic Development Corporation, which oversees this industry, exert such control over the current and past mayoral administrations? Why does the Eastern Region Helicopter Council - the helicopter group's lobbyists - have such a hold over City Hall?
This problem could end easily and legally with the stroke of the Mayor’s pen, as NYC's concession agreement with Saker Aviation, the Nevada-based operator of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, gives the mayor the absolute right to terminate the contract. Mayor de Blasio - please do the right thing and Stop the Chop!
In response to a letter sent by NY elected officials to the FAA in December (see previous post) urging action to reduce helicopter noise, a closed meeting between FAA and EDC officials and elected representatives was held yesterday. Attendees included Carmine Gallo, FAA Regional Administrator for the Eastern Region, David Hopkins, Director of Aviation for the EDC and US Representatives Jerrold Nadler (NY), Nydia Velazquez (NY) and Albio Sires (NJ). State Senator Daniel Squadron and Councilwoman Margaret Chin were also present.
The gist of the meeting is this: 1) the FAA and EDC deny there's a noise problem despite countless complaints from NYC residents and letters from officials going back several years (see below); 2) even if there is a noise problem, there's nothing they can do about it and will fight to retain the status quo.
Mayor deBlasio - it is high time you took the rains on this!
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.