The Broadsheet – Lower Manhattan’s Local Newspaper
Nadler Sponsors Legislation to Clip Wings of Whirlybirds
Above: Congressman Jerry Nadler: “For decades, New Yorkers have been plagued by excess helicopter noise and have had their lives put in danger by non-essential flights.” Below: Passengers aboard a “doors-off” tourist flight banking over the Brooklyn Bridge.
Congressman Jerry Nadler has introduced federal legislation to address safety and noise pollution concerns caused by non-essential helicopter flights over New York, which have emerged as chronic source of irritation for Lower Manhattan residents in recent years. At a Sunday press conference held alongside the East River’s 34th Street Heliport, Mr. Nadler (flanked by fellow Congress members Carolyn B. Maloney and Nydia Velazquez, who are co-sponsoring his proposed law), said, “for decades, New Yorkers have been plagued by excess helicopter noise and have had their lives put in danger by non-essential flights. Despite numerous requests by my colleagues and I, the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] has refused to sufficiently act to keep our skies and our City safe.”
In response, Mr. Nadler and his colleagues have proposed the Helicopter Safety and Noise Management Act, which will create a commission comprised of the FAA chief, members of local and state government, and helicopter noise and safety advocates who are negatively impacted by helicopter noise. This commission would be authorized to develop a helicopter usage management plan to reduce substantially the number of non-essential rotary-wing aircraft (operated by civilians) that are permitted fly at any given time.
“The Act will right this wrong,” Mr. Nadler continued. “This bill will force the FAA to work with local officials and advocates to create a long-overdue plan to cut down on non-essential flights, which will make our City safer and greatly reduce noise pollution. For too long, New Yorkers have been asking for relief from the negative safety, health, and environmental impacts of non-essential helicopter flights. It is time for the FAA to deliver.”
Between October 2019 and October 2020, Mr. Nadler argues, complaints about helicopter noise in New York City increased 130 percent. According to the City’s 311 hotline, through the end of September, 2021, local government received more than 17,000 calls about helicopter noise, eclipsing the number of similar complaints made in 2019 and in 2020. Also in 2021, the FAA released its first noise survey in almost thirty years, which found that almost two-thirds of respondents were “highly annoyed” by aircraft noise—a level roughly about five times higher than was reported in 1992.
The introduction of the Helicopter Safety and Noise Management Act follows that 2020 sponsorship (by the same coalition of elected officials) , which would have prohibited “nonessential helicopters from flying in covered airspace of any City with a population of over eight million people and with a population density of over 25,000 people per square mile—including waterways within the City’s jurisdiction.” Because New York is the only city in the United States with a population of more than eight million, and because the nation’s only municipalities with a population density of more than 25,000 people per square mile (in addition to New York City) are communities in northern New Jersey, directly adjacent to Manhattan, this bill would have effectively applied only to the New York metropolitan area.
The scene on the East River in March 2018, where a “doors-off” flight crashed, killing all five people onboard.
That 2020 proposed law (which was never enacted) came on the heels of a related measure (also sponsored by Mr. Nadler and similarly never enacted): the “Safe and Quiet Skies Act,” which sought to prohibit helicopter flyovers of National Parks (such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island), while also imposing minimum altitude and maximum noise limits on all helicopter flights.
According to official data, sightseeing and tourist flights are the third-leading category of fatal helicopter accidents. In 2016, the nationwide helicopter accident rate was 3.19 per 100,000 flight hours, with an overall total of 106 helicopter accidents, including 17 that resulted in loss of life.
Local safety worries became even more acute four years ago, after five passengers in a tour helicopter were killed when the aircraft crashed into the East River. This raised concerns separate from the immediate danger to passengers onboard such flights, which are especially resonant in the wake of the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. What had never been publicly acknowledged before the March 2018 incident was that passengers on “doors-off” flights, who wear cumbersome safety harnesses to prevent them being ejected from the aircraft as it banks and dives, are also issued knives with which to cut themselves out of these restraints in an emergency. These blades did not save any of the passengers on the 2018 tourism flight. But in the hands of a terrorist with some cockpit training, they could be used to kill a pilot, whose body would then be tossed out of the helicopter, before the hijacker took the controls and dove it into a local target, such as the World Trade Center.
In a separate (but related) development, the National Transportation Safety Board in January 2020 issued a finding that, in the 2018 incident, the “operators intentionally exploited regulatory loopholes to avoid the more robust oversight intended for revenue-passenger carrying operations, including those for commercial air tours.” This determination concluded that the tour operators deliberately (and misleadingly) classified the doomed excursion as, “an aerial photography flight,” while, “the investigation determined the intended purpose of the flight was an air tour.”
Survey Data Shows Ferry Ridership Became More Moneyed and Monochrome During Pandemic
Ridership polls compiled by the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) indicate that during 2021, the median income for riders of the NYC Ferry service jumped to between $100,000 and $149,000. At the same time, the percentage of riders who self-identify as races other than white (or categorize themselves as mixed race) dipped to less than one-third.
New Community Garden Downtown
Chefs for Impact Open Garden to Teach Sustainability
Children squirmed through the speeches on May 9 for the opening of the Chefs for Kids community garden at Grand St. Settlement on the Lower East Side. After the program, while an assortment of elected officials and community leaders chatted, the kids checked out the good-smelling soil and peppered Chief Chef Educator Kristina Ramos (above) with questions. Any squirmy things in there?
The garden, an initiative from Chefs for Impact—a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for a more sustainable food system—will give community members hands-on experience in learning about sustainably-grown food.
What Did Rudy Know and When Did He Know It?
Nadler Presses City Hall to Release Documents from 2001 about City Hall’s Awareness of Ground Zero Health Risks
United States Congressman Jerry Nadler is calling upon the administration of Mayor Eric Adams to make public previously unreleased City documents, which may shed light on what Rudolph Giuliani, who was Mayor at the time of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, knew about environmental health risks in weeks and months following of the destruction of the World Trade Center.
A Pair of Downtown Marquee Properties Seized by Lenders
Two Lower Manhattan trophy properties have fallen into foreclosure and have been seized by creditors. In a story first published by the property industry newsletter, The Real Deal, China Oceanwide Holdings, the owner of the development lot at 80 South Street (in the South Street Seaport) has lost control of the parcel, which it purchased from the Howard Hughes Corporation for $390 million in 2016.
Federal Report Foresees Rising Water in Lower Manhattan
A new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the federal scientific agency responsible for study of oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere, predicts that Lower Manhattan will face increasingly frequent flooding in the decades to come.
Tuesday, May 17
Meet at the intersection of Broadway, Battery Place, and State Street
Join experienced birding guide Gabriel Willow on a walk through The Battery to observe the diversity of migrating birds that visit the park. Free.
6 River Terrace
Join in on the fun featuring easy-to-follow Latin dance choreography while working on your balance, coordination and range of motion. Come prepared for enthusiastic instruction, a little strength training and a lot of fun. Free.
Webinar from the Museum of American Financial History. Amid severe digital disruption, economic upheaval and political flux, how can we make sense of the world? Leaders today typically look for answers in economic models, Big Data or artificial intelligence platforms. Gillian Tett points to anthropology—the study of human culture. Anthropologists learn to get inside the minds of other people, helping them not only to understand other cultures but also to appraise their own environment with fresh perspective as an insider-outsider, gaining lateral vision. Today, anthropologists are more likely to study Amazon warehouses than remote Amazon tribes. They have done research into institutions and companies such as General Motors, Nestlé, Intel and more, shedding light on practical questions such as how internet users define themselves; why corporate projects fail; why bank traders miscalculate losses; how companies sell certain products; and why pandemic policies succeed (or not). Free.
Play the popular strategy game while getting pointers and advice from an expert. Chess improves concentration, problem solving, and strategic planning — plus it’s fun! For ages 5 and up (adults welcome). Free.
Focusing on four global cities – London, New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore – architect, urban designer, and TED Resident Stefan Al examines rise of global supertalls and the factors that have led to this worldwide boom. He uncovers the latest innovations in sustainable building, from skyscrapers made of wood to tree-covered buildings that promise a better urban future, but also examines the issues of wealth inequality, carbon emissions, and contagion that can accompany dense high-rise development. Featuring original architectural sketches, Supertall: How the World’s Tallest Buildings Are Reshaping Our Cities and Our Lives is both an exploration of our greatest accomplishments and a powerful argument for a more equitable way forward. Free. Hosted by the Skyscraper Museum
Wednesday, May 18
Rector Park East
Observe and sketch the human figure. Each week a model will strike short and long poses for participants to draw. An artist/educator will offer constructive suggestions and critique. Drawing materials provided, and artists are encouraged to bring their own favorite media. Free.
Elements of Nature Drawing
Embolden your artwork amidst the flower-filled and seasonally evolving palette of BPC’s verdant gardens. An artist/ educator will provide ideas and instruction. Materials provided. Free.
Rockefeller Park House
Immerse yourself in this meditative practice- surrounded by the Hudson’s peaceful aura. Strengthen the body and cultivate awareness in a relaxed environment as your instructor guides you through alignments and poses. All levels are welcome. Bring your own mat. Free.
40 Rector Street
Experience a literati salon (文人雅集) inspired by ancient traditions, and enjoy an evening of classical music, poetry, calligraphy—and wine! Attendees will enjoy performances and an unforgettable cultural experience that promotes solidarity, friendship and peace. At China’s traditional “literati salons,” scholars connected with nature, art, and music while sipping tea and wine. At the most famous of these events, the Orchid Pavilion Gathering (兰亭雅集) in the year 353, 42 gentlemen held a famous drinking contest, in which they floated their rice-wine cups down a winding creek as they sat along its banks. Whenever a cup stopped, the man closest to the cup had to empty it and write a poem. In the end, they produced 37 poems and Wang Xizhi (王羲之 produced Preface to the Poems of the Orchid Pavilion (《兰亭集序》）, the finest calligraphic art in China’s history. The event has since fueled inspiration for all forms of Chinese art. Tea and wine will be served. $10.
Concert. With special guest Creed Bratton.
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Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets
Greenwich Street & Chambers Street
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8am-3pm (compost program: Saturdays, 8am-1pm)
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Broadway & Whitehall St
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8am-5pm (compost program: 8am-11am)
The Outdoor Fulton Stall Market
91 South Street, between Fulton & John Streets
Indoor market: Monday through Saturday,11:30am-5pm
CSA pick-up: Thursday, 4pm-6pm; Friday, 11:30-5pm
Outdoor market: Saturday 11:30am-5pm, May through Thanksgiving
Take a moment to admire the striking building at 90 West Street, designed by architect Cass Gilbert and built in 1905-1907. It is a City landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. Cass Gilbert died on this day in 1934.
1536 – George Boleyn, 2nd Viscount Rochford and four other men are executed for treason.
1536 – Annulment of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s marriage.
1673 – Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette begin exploring the Mississippi River.
1775 – American Revolutionary War: the Continental Congress bans trade with Quebec.
1792 – The New York Stock Exchange is formed under the Buttonwood Agreement.
1808 – Napoleon I of France orders the annexation of the Papal States to the French Empire.
1954 – The United States Supreme Court hands down a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
1970 – Thor Heyerdahl sets sail from Morocco on the papyrus boat Ra II to sail the Atlantic Ocean.
1973 – Watergate scandal: Televised hearings begin in the United States Senate.
1983 – The U.S. Department of Energy declassifies documents showing world’s largest mercury pollution event in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (ultimately found to be 4.2 million pounds), in response to the Appalachian Observer’s Freedom of Information Act request.
2004 – The first legal same-sex marriages in the U.S. are performed in the state of Massachusetts.
1732 – Francesco Pasquale Ricci, Italian violinist and composer (d. 1817)
1882 – Karl Burman, Estonian architect and painter (d. 1965)
1912 – Archibald Cox, American lawyer and politician, 31st United States Solicitor General (d. 2004)
1922 – Jean Rédélé, French race car driver, founded Alpine (d. 2007)
1936 – Dennis Hopper, American actor and director (d. 2010)
1956 – Sugar Ray Leonard, American boxer
1956 – Bob Saget, actor and comedian (d. 2022)
290 – Emperor Wu of Jin, Chinese emperor (b. 236)
1510 – Sandro Botticelli, Italian painter (b. 1445)
1886 – John Deere, American blacksmith and businessman, founded the Deere & Company (b. 1804)
1934 – Cass Gilbert, American architect (b. 1859)
2004 – Tony Randall, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1920)
2012 – Donna Summer, pop singer
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