Heights Local To Mayor Bloomberg: ‘Enough Wit Da Helicopter Noise!’

At Thursday’s public celebration of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 opening, NYC Mayor Bloomberg took questions from press—and area residents. One local took the opportunity to raise the issue of Brooklyn Heights’ perpetual helicopter noise from tourist whirlybirds. Gothamist reports that Bloomberg acknowledged that helicopters taking off from lower Manhattan do fly within the vicinity of Brooklyn Heights—mind youse, as two copters interrupted the festivities by proving the gadfly’s point.

Bloomie asked the guy what solution he would propose: “Why can’t you move them somewhere else?” Mayor Crusty asked what neighborhoods the choppers should fly over. Response: “New Jersey.” Bloomberg added that NYC tourists have little interest in touring Jersey… and that was that…

Comments on Gothamist are even more entertaining, with one noting,”Only a Brooklyn Heights douchebag would think a New York City mayor would have any jurisdiction over the state of New Jersey.” Another sided with deemed DB, sort of: “It’s all about the tourists, right Mayor Mike? ‘You wanna save humanity, but it’s people that you just can’t stand.’That said, I wish my neighbors would represent our neighborhood better.”

Calling State Sen. Daniel Squadron… come in, please… (Photo: Gothamist)

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  • TMS

    We live in a city. There will be noise. Fire engines. Ambulances. Car horns. Loud people. Garbage trucks. And yes, helicopters.

  • DrewB

    The Gothamist makes a sport out of mocking Brooklyn Heights residents. Admittedly we are an easy target. Here’s what I would have said to the Mayor:

    “The current route takes helicopters down Buttermilk Channel between Brooklyn and Governor’s Island. If the helicopters went on the western side of Governor’s Island, their immediate trajectory would take them away fron the Brooklyn waterfront. This will not eliminate the issues entirely, but it would help considerably. They would still be able to circle the Statue of Liberty and and see all of Downtown Manhattan. This would create a somewhat tighter corridor for departing and arriving helicopters which would act as limiter on the overall frequency of flights, another benefit.”

  • Gerry

    @ TMS – I agree noise is a part of life in the city – and the suburbs the north shore of Long Island has a big problem with helicopter noise.

  • stuart

    The Mayor is a billionaire helicopter pilot and enthusiast.
    He would sooner see Brooklyn Heights leveled and turned into a helicopter storage and service facility than hear complaints from the little people.

  • Boerum Bill

    Owls have a downy layer on their wings to muffle their attack on rodentia. We need to adopt a similar technology on these choppers.

  • Joe

    I’m hearing one right now.

  • Bob Sacamano

    I’ll take the sounds of helicopters over the sounds of car horns in traffic on neighborhood streets or those very annoying car alarms. Living in the city I know that I have to expect some level of noise. This isn’t rural America.

  • Mr. Crusty

    There is noise in the city. Get over it.

  • DrewB

    I understand that there is noise in the city. But if we can come up with a solution that allows tourist helicopters but also reduces noise why not? I don’t see any harm in exploring different routing. The bottom line is this helicopter traffic was diverted over here because it was creating a nuisance on the west side. If they can ask for it to be moved why can’t we. You don’t have to sit here like a patsy and except everything that the city officials thrust upon you. If it doesn’t bother you that’s fine. But those of us who are effected have the right to petition the city to rectify the situation. Mr. Crusty you spend plenty of time complaining about quality of life issues on this blog. Some of them seem trivial to me, but I have no problem with you discussing them.

  • MonroeOrange

    Mr. Crusty…gimme a break…’get over it’ really? I expect if you lived in the large residential building on cadman plaza west (the one closest to the bridge) you would sing a different tune….I see helicopters come so close to that building, I fear a collision one day…see for yourself.

  • chris

    TMS — It is precisely because we live in a city where a lot of noise is unavoidable that it should be reduced wherever possible. Eliminating sightseeing flights will not eliminate helicopters but at least the unnecessary ones. As far as the FAA is concerned, sightseeing flights are not even transportation. As far as our Mayor is concerned, he likes helicopters and wants to help their pilots, end of discussion. He justifies this personal preference contending it brings extra money to the City, which is questionable. It is amazing that a mayor who legislates sugar-intake levels and non-smoking even out of doors, disregards the deleterious effect that noise has on human beings.

  • Wiley E.

    Bloomberg is all about himself. Nothing else matters. The mayor has turned into another Leona Helmsley of sorts. (another term, mike?)

  • elemengee

    I’ve lived in Brooklyn Heights all my 84 years and loved every minute of it. What are all these young people[?] complaining about??? A helicopter flies over our area a couple of times a day for a short period of time and some residents find this disturbing? What is more disturbing to my ancient ears is today’s so-called music and lyrics. Using current vernacular, I say to the complainers, “Get a Life.”

  • Park Lover

    The 150-200 daily tourist choppers affect Governors Island, Red Hook, Cobble Hill, Staten Island, the Battery and upper Manhattan, too. See:

    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20111201/downtown/governors-island-wants-lowflying-helicopters-buzz-off

    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20121119/washington-heights/downtown-ban-of-tourist-helicopters-pushes-noise-problems-north

    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20110516/downtown/ban-noisy-tourist-helicopters-downtown-pols-say

    The Mayor’s “we need these choppers because tourists” canard relies on a “if it isn’t a problem for me it isn’t a problem” brush-off, plus bogus economic benefit numbers. And keep in mind that the East Side doesn’t want them (they were banned under Giuliani); the West Side sued to get rid of them; no other tourist city seems to need them; there are documented health impacts from hours of nonstop helicopter drone, which is NOT regular city noise; etc, etc. SO– the issue is a bit more nuanced and impacts communities far beyond Bklyn Hts (as if that should matter, but it is a reason why simply shifting the flights to the west of Gov Island isn’t a great solution). And it’s one that Bloomberg has been dodging for almost 2 years– as you’ll see from the attached articles, despite years of requests from other elected officials, community groups and the NPS to do something. (Ps, the chopper companies are all based in NJ, but have use of the DMH.) At that point, it becomes an FAA issue, which is who the folks on Eastern Long Island are battling with, since the FAA is refusing to enact reasonable regulation out there, despite legislation requiring it to do so. Industry capture indeed…..

  • GHB

    @elemengee, perhaps you should get your hearing aid adjusted. It’s more than “a couple of times a day for a short period of time” There are times when the barrage of helicopters is almost constant and the noise can be unbearable.

  • Mr. Crusty

    @GHB: “There are times when the barrage of helicopters is almost constant and the noise can be unbearable.”

    Really? The helicopters fly over the East River and are prohibited from flying over BH and yet you say the noise is “unbearable”? Where exactly would that be? I have been on the Promenade countless weekends and observed the many tourist helicopters and they never seem to get too close and their noise, while audible, could hardly be described as unbearable. Am I missing something? Where is this happening?

  • zburch

    The regular commentors at the Gothamist are known to be the trolliest of trolls. If you have problems with hellicopter noise or pot holes or rat infestation or murderous psychos next door by all means speak up for yourself.

  • Andrew Porter

    During the mission to kill bin Laden, they used Stealth helicopters, one of which fell into Pakistani hands. When will this technology, which drastically cuts the noise from the helicopter blades, be made available for civilian copters?

    That’s the answer to copter noise, just like modern jets use far less fuel and put out far less polluting exhaust fumes—and noise!—than they used to.

  • Observer

    Isn’t just limiting the hours they can fly around here, like from 9 am to 5 pm weekdays a sensible thing to do? I think the biggest culprits of helicopter noise are the news choppers hovering to see traffic on the BQE and bridges.

  • Park Lover

    @Observer: the agreement that NYC signed with Saker Aviation, which runs the DMH, allows tourist choppers from 9-7 every day but Sunday and 9-5 on Sundays, with no limits on flight frequency. The contract actually encourages increased use of the DMH. Many days there are 9-10 tourist choppers in rotation (up to 14-15 on the busiest days), and the noise can be heard up to 1/2 mile inland. At least we don’t have the fumes from the constant idling of choppers on the helipad, which is another problem for the folks who live near the DMH.

    As for reducing hours/frequency– NYC and the EDC refuse to even discuss it with other elected officials or community groups. They fall back on the April 2010 “don’t throw me in the briar patch” agreement that was reached with the chopper companies, and as far as they’re concerned, that’s the 100% end of the story.

  • MonroeOrange

    Mr Crusty…you are indeed missing something. People aren’t making these complaints up. As I said in my previous post to you, building on Cadman plaza gets strafed daily.

  • Willowtowncop

    I hate to agree with Mr. Crusty but I’ve lived here for 10 years without ever hearing a helicopter and I’m not an old person who can’t hear anymore.

  • Mr. Crusty

    @MonroeOrange: “As I said in my previous post to you, building on Cadman plaza gets strafed daily.”

    By tourist helicopters? Can anyone else confirm this? I live in a high rise and I do see helicopters from time to time but they are usually military, police, traffic or news helicopters. For the most part I have observed that the tourist helicopters adhere to to restrictions against flying over residential areas of Brooklyn Heights. I’d like to hear from residents of those Cadman Plaza buildings to see if the problem is as severe as described. Not being snarky, just truly curious as to the situation.

  • MonroeOrange

    Sorry Mr. Crusty…I thought we were talking about all helicopter traffic…I can’t confirm if they are tourist helicopters or traffic helicopters…I count all helicopter noise as the same….and yes the military choppers do fly directly over those buildings..but probably can’t do much about those.

  • Mr. Crusty

    Well, that is kinda the whole point MonroeOrange. People are clamoring for more restrictions and/or eliminations of the tourist helicopter flights when they are really not the problem as far as I can see. And if the muffled noise of a helicopter out over the East River is just too disturbing for someone let me suggest they move out to someplace like Montana where fellow human activity is less likely to intrude upon them.

  • Nabeguy

    Jeez, I can barely hear the din of the helicopters over roar of this argument.

  • GHB

    Mr. Crusty, I haven’t had a problem recently with the helicopters, but they have been a serious nuisance over the past few years.

  • Park Lover

    The tourist chopper noise seems hit or miss in the ‘hood, depending on how the sound bounces off various buildings- some parts of Brooklyn Heights are spared, while the noise comes through loud and clear in some parts of DUMBO, which is counterintuitive.

  • Mr. Crusty

    Interesting to see how this thread evolved. We at one point had GHB saying, “There are times when the barrage of helicopters is almost constant and the noise can be unbearable.”

    He/she now says, “I haven’t had a problem recently with the helicopters”

    MonroeOrange initially said that buildings on Cadman Plaza get staffed daily but now admits he/she doesn’t know if they are even tourist helicopters (unlikely) or not.

    Seems like there is often a knee jerk reaction to complain about how poor old Brooklyn Heights is treated by the city and/or our mean Mayor without any real substance. I don’t know if this happens in other neighborhoods but the sense of entitlement some residents display here annoys the crap out of me. Lets end the tourist helicopter business because there may, or may not, be some noise associated with it from time to time although I have provided no quantifiable evidence.

    If someone really believes there is a problem with helicopter noise get a decibel meter and document the level of noise, the frequency and times of the day. You might have a case, I don’t know but these anecdotal complaints don’t seem to impress me all that much. Like I said, I often observe the tourist helicopters take off one after the other and do their thing without what I would consider unreasonable noise pollution to anyone living in the Heights.

  • MonroeOrange

    Mr Crusty, whether or not those buildings get strafed by tourist copters or not, my point was still valid, maybe not relevant for this thread, but a helicopter strafing a building daily is still annoying whether it contains tourists or not. You make me miss Gerry’s dialogue!