Dozens of elected officials from New York and New Jersey come together to urge Mayor de Blasio to ban helicopter sightseeing tours over the Hudson River.Read Now
A joint press conference assembled by US Senator Robert Menendez and US Congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Albio Sires was held on Friday, August 8 calling for a complete ban on sightseeing helicopter tours over the Hudson River. A letter signed by 21 New York lawmakers including Congressional representatives Nadler and Nydia Velazquez and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, citing diminished quality of life, health and safety concerns, was sent to Mayor de Blasio urging him to ban these tours. A letter signed by New Jersey lawmakers was also sent to the FAA urging it to do the same and emphasizing that the tour operators will not be welcome in NJ should their operations close in New York. See both letters below. Further details can be found here.
DNA info warns apartment seekers to watch out for proximity to helipads and helicopter flight paths when considering living along NYC's waterfront.Read Now
9 Things to Know Before Buying City Waterfront Property By Amy Zimmer on August 6, 2014 7:32am @the_zim
MANHATTAN — If you've been fantasizing about living in one of the thousands of new apartments expected to rise along New York City's waterfront in the coming years, there's a lot to think about before taking the plunge.
Whether it's an existing property or one of the new units slated to be built at Hudson Yards, the South Street Seaport, Williamsburg's Domino Sugar site or Long Island City's Hunters Point South, Hurricane Sandy showed that waterfront properties can be vulnerable to flooding.
Yet, for many house-hunters, the promise of great views trumps those fears — and people are willing to shell out high prices for that luxury.
"Surprisingly, most people don't bring [Sandy] up," said Highlyann Krasnow, of MNS, which markets such high-profile waterfront projects as One Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg's Edge and Northside Piers. "There's just this attraction to the waterfront and the views."
Whether it's being ready for the next storm, or just getting the best view for your money, here's what to know if you're looking to live on the waterfront:
1. Be ready to pay a premium.
It costs more to live on the water.
In the Edge, apartments with East River views are selling for $1,400 to $1,500 a foot, while others in the building are going for roughly $1,100 to $1,200, Krasnow said.
"One of the huge selling points of the Edge is that the amenities are on the waterfront, so even if you're not getting a water view in the unit, you can sit out on the pool all summer staring at the world's best view," she said. "That's been a big draw."
Apartments in waterfront buildings in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Long Island City — the neighborhoods where Bond New York's David Kazemi specializes in — tend to cost nearly 10 percent more than "normal" buildings, he said, especially since many tend to be laden with luxe amenities.
"The buildings are incredible," he said, "but with incredible comes incredible prices."
In Williamsburg, there might also be a stigma against living in a fancy new building, Kazemi added.
"Most of the 'locals' — this terms means nothing in that area now — may have a disdain for your tower lifestyle," he said.
2. Ask about future development that could potentially block your views.
You may have a great view of the waterfront now, but there could be another building planned — even years from now — that could rise in front of your window and ruin it.
"That's definitely a major issue with waterfront development," Krasnow said. "When we were selling the Edge, we knew there was going to be another tower being built [in front of it], so we were very upfront about that."
The "Edge Two" — a 40-story tower with 595 units near North Sixth and Kent streets — is expected to break ground shortly, blocking some of the waterfront views of existing Edge residents, Krasnow said.
These are a few new waterfront residential buildings approved by the Department of Buildings between Jan. 1 and June 31, 2014 between the Columbia Street Waterfront District and Long Island City.
3. Find out if the building is in high-flood zone.
New York City has six zones. Residents in Zone 1 — which is considered the most likely to flood — may be ordered to evacuate in the case of a hurricane or tropical storm.
If you're looking at buildings in a flood zone, make sure they're equipped and prepared to manage flooding, advised Nataly Rothschild and Julie Zelman, of the Rothschild Team at the luxury real estate firm Engel & Völkers NYC.
Look into the history of the building to see if there was any damage or evacuations during previous flooding or hurricanes, they suggested.
"A lot of it is about being prepared. It's just good to know if you're in a building that knows what they're doing," Rothschild said.
"It doesn't really prevent people from buying," Zelman added, though one of her clients was turned off when she heard what residents had to say out of a particular Seaport building in the months after Sandy.
4. Find out how the building plans to face the next storm.
In many new buildings, storm mitigation techniques are key. That includes new waterfront properties in Williamsburge like the "Edge Two" and Northside Pier's 40-story rental with 509 units at 1 North Fourth Place, Krasnow said.
Krasnow said the mechanical rooms at those buildings are being built above ground level — rather than in the basements as was the typical practice. Many properties like 1 North Fourth, will use cogeneration facilities to create their own power and be able to run off the grid if there's a blackout.
"We're making sure we can have elevators running and power running in case something happens," Krasnow said.
5. Make sure you understand how far you are from public transit.
Waterfront buildings are sometimes fairly far from subways, brokers noted, but the East River Ferry (which has a stop steps away from the Edge) has helped several neighborhoods, and the Second Avenue subway and 7 train extension will help others that are isolated from the city's main lines.
"Right now, people buying on the waterfront, specifically the Hudson Yards area, may have to think about living a few years without the convenience of access to public transportation," Zelman said. "But eventually, it will be much better."
6. A higher floor isn't necessarily better.
Many house hunters looking at new developments and buying off of floor-plans opt for higher floors for views, but lower floors can feel more like the "waterfront," Zelman said.
From a lower perch, you might have better views of boats gliding by, she said, as opposed to views of New Jersey (on the West Side of Manhattan) or Queens (on the East Side).
7. Learn about the building's financials.
Making sure the buildings have sound financials is good advice for any purchase, but Kazemi cautioned that it's especially critical in waterfront towers since they are usually full-service buildings packed with high-end amenities.
"You should make sure the building financials are in order and that you will not get hit with some large assessments or a huge increase in carrying costs," he said.
8. Summers may be phenomenal, but find out about winters.
Thos cool waterfront breezes in the summer could turn into frigid breezes in the winter, Kazemi said.
"Sometimes," he said, " when you leave your apartment, there are unusually strong winds which make it even colder."
9. Check for nearby helicopter pads.
Since most heliports are located on waterfront piers, some buildings along the water's edge may have to worry about the constant drone of takeoff and landings. If helicopters are buzzing near your building, be prepared for a lot of noise, Rothschild noted.
"It kind of defeats the purpose of a quiet, serene and calming waterfront property," Rothschild said.
Experts suggest checking with your broker about the locations and hours of operation of any nearby heliports, as well as checking for proximity to any flight paths.
Local reporter takes note of frequency of helicopter tours and the distress it causes to New Yorkers, bringing into question Mayor de Blasio's refusal to ban these needless flights.
Tourist Thrill Becomes a Residential Nuisance Written by Mary Kekatos on July 23, 2014. Posted in News Our Town Downtown.
Battery Park City Lower Manhattan is drowning in sound.
Neighbors surrounding popular launching and landing pads for helicopters say that the constant chopper noise is practically unbearable, and they want the city to do something about it.
On a recent Monday, five helicopters in a row take off from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport at Pier 6 on the East River – all within a two minute period between 12:23 and 12:25 p.m. This isn’t an unusual schedule.
“I live in Battery Park City, and there is no time between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. that there isn’t at least one helicopters flying outside,” said Delia von Neuschatz, president of Stop the Chop, a grassroots movement concerned about pollution and noise, dedicated to eradicating the helicopter tours.
The heliport is owned by the City of New York and is operated by Saker Aviation, a company based out of Nevada.
Members of Stop the Chop are not the only ones trying to ban the helicopter tours. Advocates for the ban include Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gellibrand and U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler.
Congressman Nadler has even equated the airspace where the helicopters fly to the “Wild West,” citing the lack of regulation of the air space.
Nadler is one of many that have been trying to ban the helicopter tours for years. Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell Jr. of District 71 in Upper Manhattan stated on his website that on June 6, a closed meeting was held at City Hall regarding the helicopter situation. Approximately two dozen elected officials attended, including City Councilman Mark Levine and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. Reportedly every single official called for a ban to the helicopters, but the mayor refused to consider a ban.
“I would understand if he doesn’t want to ban [the helicopter tours] because they brought in big amounts of revenue or created jobs, but they don’t,” von Neuschatz said.
According to the city’s concession agreement with First Flight, a subsidiary of Saker Aviation, the city can terminate their contract with 25 days notice for any reason.
“Mayor de Blasio can literally end this at any time with the stroke of a pen – and he just won’t!” von Neuschatz said.
The helicopters can make life miserable for the New Yorkers subjected to the unceasing trips hovering overhead.
“I can’t go one day without hearing the constant noise,” said Bob Parker, who works near the heliport. “It can sometimes be a distraction when I’m working.”
“I have a one year old who often gets woken up from her nap due to the helicopter,” said Jean T., a resident of Battery Park City. “You would think they would be mindful of the fact that Lower Manhattan is also a residential area.”
Several health studies have been released showing how harmful excessive aircraft noise can be. According to a study released by the National Resources Defense Council, adults have been shown to suffer from heart disease and hypertension as a result of exposure to such noise.
Helicopter tours from the West 34th Street heliport and the East 30th Street heliport have been banned due to worries about air and noise pollution. Stop the Chop’s next move is to make sure the same thing happens at the East River.
“We really want to take the mayor to task about why he won’t do anything,” von Neuschatz said. “Membership [for Stop the Chop] is growing daily, so hopefully he will see the numbers and finally do something about this.”
Saker Aviation did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
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!
The fog and low-lying clouds proved no deterrent, as usual, to the helicopter tourist industry. Check out the video shot two days ago by one of our members, capturing the low altitudes and the huge frequency of flights. If helicopters cannot fly at the altitudes set by the FAA, they shouldn't fly at all! Please contact Jonathan Viguers in Mayor de Blasio's office to let him know that these non-essential tourist flights must end! Jonathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From John in Jersey City:
Hey ERHC, FAA, NYCEDC, POLITICIANS,
Can you comment on this video please? You think it is normal to see a helicopter in the air all the time? I shot this video this morning for 20 minutes [today - April 14, 2014] and over 95% of the time there is a helicopter in the sky! It continues like this daily and it will get worst as the weather improves. I would say that all of them in the video except for 2 (1 private and 1 training heli) were NYC TOUR HELICOPTERS. The only time we get some peace and quiet is when the President is town and all helicopter air traffic is halted!
There were 12 - 15 tourist choppers on rotation today and the season is not even in full swing yet. One was landing or taking off every 10 - 20 seconds. This went on from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM without stop. It was impossible to enjoy the beautiful weather and the esplanade and Hudson River Park because of the constant din! Check out our video here.
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.