Alliance of Elected Officials Seeks to Ground Helicopters
Congressman Jerry Nadler (center), Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (left), and State Senator Brian Kavanagh (in yellow mask) stand at the West 30th Street Heliport on Friday to push for federal legislation aimed at banning non-essential helicopter flights from New York skies.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has brought together a coalition of City, State, and Federal elected officials from New York and New Jersey to fight the rampant proliferation of tourist helicopter flights over the greater metropolitan area.
In a letter sent Friday to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Ms. Brewer, Congressman Jerry Nadler, State Assembly member Deborah Glick, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, and City Council member Margaret Chin, along with 30 other officials from both states, say, “helicopters are hovering over our homes and public spaces, flying in between tall buildings and tormenting our residents with incessant noise. These aircraft operate over our cities, towns, and boroughs night and day, often without regard for public safety or quality of life.”
The letter continues, “current regulatory practices are inadequate to address these issues. We are acutely aware of the risk of a catastrophic helicopter accident, like the June 10, 2019 helicopter crash in Midtown Manhattan and other fatal accidents in recent years. In addition to our preeminent safety concerns, the noise pollution created by sightseeing helicopters has become a serious problem…. The continuous helicopter traffic over and around the area poses a great hazard to life and property, and a significant assault on the senses of visitors and local residents.”
The group, which calls itself the Helicopter Task Force, notes that, “in Hudson County, New Jersey, an operator known as FlyNYON advertises… “doors-off flights” operating seven days a week out of Kearny, New Jersey. These non-essential ‘selfie’ flights are making residents of densely populated Hudson County miserable. From 7:00 am to midnight, as many as 60 daily non-essential tourist helicopters buzz residents’ homes at altitudes as low as 100 feet. The noise is so great that residents cannot hold outdoor conversations.”
The Task Force letter further argues that, “tourist flights over New York City, despite being reduced by half in 2016, still amount to roughly 80 flights a day. This figure vastly increases when flights out of New Jersey and Westchester are taken into account. Lastly, excessive exposure to aircraft noise is associated with deleterious effects on health.”
The elected officials also note that, “complaints about helicopter noise increased by 130 percent between October, 2019 and October, 2020,” and focus on proposed federal legislation, the Improving Helicopter Safety Act, sponsored by Mr. Nadler, “which would prohibit 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.”
Above: The scene on the East River in March, 2018, where a “doors-off” flight crashed, killing all five people onboard.
Below: Passengers aboard a “doors-off” tourist flight banking over the Brooklyn Bridge.
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 effectively apply only to the New York metropolitan area.
The elected officials conclude by urging enactment of the Improving Helicopter Safety Act, and requesting that, “the Federal Aviation Administration impose special flight rules for all non-essential (sightseeing and charter) helicopters over highly populated areas, including the City of New York and adjacent New Jersey.”
The introduction of the Improving Helicopter Safety Act followed the January proposal by Mr. Nadler of a related measure, the “Safe and Quiet Skies Act,” which seeks 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 three 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 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.”
EYES TO THE SKY
November 1 – 14, 2021
Darkest mornings, brightest stars—crescent moon dawn, then dusk, with planets
Winter’s all-night constellations in autumn’s pre-dawn and dawn sky. The red ribbon represents the Milky Way. Background darkness is exaggerated in this rendering. Turn light up on your screen to see details in all illustrations. Schema via StarryNight7 / Judy Isacoff
The week of November 1 through 6 is the best time all year to begin each day under heaven’s brightest stars and constellations – without waking up especially early. In morning darkness at 6am, through twilight, close to 7 o’clock, a view into the cosmos is ours. Find the brightest star in Earth’s skies, Sirius the Dog Star of Canis Major, in the southwest, alluring even through windows. Sirius is still brilliant at 6:40am and visible until close to 7am as the sky brightens and all other stars have faded. Until 6:30, gaze counterclockwise from Sirius to spot Rigel of Orion the Hunter, then Aldebaran of Taurus the Bull, up to Capella the Goat Star and around to Procyon the Little Dog Star. These distant suns and constellations, along with the slightly dimmer Gemini constellation, compose the Winter Circle. Refer to the illustration, above.
Turning to the east-southeast, still in morning darkness and early twilight on November 1 and 2, a waning crescent moon (old moon) is suspended above planet Mercury, which looks like a fairly bright star shining near the horizon. On the 3rd, a filament-thin crescent stands just above Mercury. Above and to Mercury’s left, notice orange star Arcturus, the second brightest star in Earth’s skies. For illustration, click here. New Moon is on the 4th, when the moon disappears behind the Sun. Mercury, too, soon disappears in the Sun’s glare: look by the 6th.
New moon is November 4, 2021 at 21:14 UTC (5:14pm EDT). Then the young moon – a waxing crescent – returns to the west after sunset. You might see it on November 6. You will see it near dazzling Venus, if your western sky is clear to the horizon, on the evenings of November 7 and 8, 2021. Courtesy EarthSky.org
Sunrise is at 7:26am today and 7:31am on Saturday the 6th. The lateness of sunrise is artificial. This is the final week of Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), when clock time is one hour ahead of the Sun. At 2am Sunday the 7th, clocks “fall back” one hour, returning to Eastern Standard Time (EST). Sunrise on the 7th is 6:32am EST. On the 14th sunup is 6:41am.
Follow the moon to its reappearance in the southwest as a waxing crescent on the evening of November 6. Sunset on the 6th, 5:48pm EDT; moonset 7:04pm EDT. Next day, November 7, sunset is at 4:41 EST, moonset 6:55pm EST. Find brilliant planet Venus; then look diagonally to the left, south of Venus, for bright Jupiter and, between those two brightest planets, Saturn.
Leaf Blowers are Harmful to People and the Environment
To the Editor:
Day three and another comment about leaf blowers: Sometimes building staffs, including Brookfield, use them as well. They are terribly loud and often extremely close. Let’s put more rakes to good use.
To the Editor:
Please, Battery Park City Authority, stop using leaf blowers. They’re exceptionally loud and are generally destructive to the environment. For an organization that touts its sustainability and resiliency plans, leaf blowers blow away the BPCA’s environmental credibility with a roar.
To the Editor:
I am writing to express concern with the excessive use of gas-powered leaf blowers in the park areas of BPC.
It occurs almost daily, goes on for a long time (more than is necessary in my opinion, adding to the inefficiency and pollution), is aggravating given the loud ongoing noise but also the operators’ habits of pulsing the machine (think, “vroom…vroom… vroom…vroom…” for an extended period), and spews out exhaust that enters my apartment window. Yes, literally. That gas pollution is not what I want us to be breathing at all, but especially not INDOORS!
Furthermore, the environmental impact is serious. Read the article in a recent New York Times edition.
Plus, this is very counter to the goals outlined on the BPC Parks website: “We have been continuously searching for the next “green” solution….BPCPC believes that developing an environmental consciousness is an important public mission….We ask staff and the public to think environmentally before they act….”
The Battery Park City Dog Association
would like to thank the following people and businesses for participating in and donating to our 19th Annual BPC Halloween Puppy Parade on October 31.
Phil Castiglia and Judy Passer of Le Pet Spa,
our Co-Hosts and the provider of the top prizes;
all of the fantastic participants in the parade – human, canine and feline –
for their enthusiasm, creativity and support for our annual community event;
Battery Park Veterinary Hospital,
Le Pain Quotidian Restaurant,
Miramar Mediterranean Seafood Restaurant,
New Fresh Cleaners,
Stanley’s Cobbler Shop,
Nefelie Kiskinis for her help with social media
and The Vince Smith Hair Experience.
Also a huge thanks to our esteemed judges: Rena Wright, Rich Brotman and Liam Galloway.
And of course, thank you to the BPCA for issuing our permit and
to Ryan Torres for making our judging area safe and clean.
We will be posting pictures of the winners and the event soon at: www.bpcdogs.org.
What’s Up, Dock?
Planning Moves Ahead for Elevating Battery Waterfront
With the ongoing design process for the Battery Wharf resiliency project now 50 percent complete (and construction slated to begin in late 2022), Community Board 1 (CB1) is weighing in with concerns and ideas about how to refine the vision for raising the level of the waterfront esplanade in the Battery to protect the historic park against future sea-level rise and extreme-weather events.
The project to safeguard the one-third mile stretch of shoreline between Pier A (to the north) and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal (in the south) has three primary aims: to raise the waterfront walkway five feet above its present elevation; to link up with other, similar projects nearby (as part of the broader Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency plan); and to improve drainage. The overall budget is $129 million, and the initiative is being managed by the City’s Economic Development Corporation, along with the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Completed in 1928, at the height of the Roaring Twenties,the Barbizon Hotel was designed as a luxurious safe haven for the “Modern Woman” hoping for a career in the arts. Over time, it became the place to stay for any ambitious young woman hoping for fame and fortune. In her new book The Barbizon: The Hotel that Set Women Free, professor of international, gender, and media studies at Vassar College, Paulina Bren “unpacks” the luggage of several generations of women, mostly young and new to the city, who found a home in the hotel that became a legend. After Paulina’s presentation, she will be joined in conversation with Andrea Barnet, writer and author of Visionary Women: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters Changed Our World, whose 2019 talk at the Museum can be viewed here. Free.
With its amazing gardens and views of the Hudson River and New York Bay, Wagner Park is the perfect setting to practice your art. Participants are expected to bring their own drawing and painting supplies, including drawing boards and containers of water if they are planning to paint. BPCA will supply drawing paper and watercolor paper only. Masks required. Free.
According to the Center for Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania, 90% of millennials say that when choosing between two brands of equal quality and price, they will opt for a cause-branded product, and 51% of global consumers will pay extra for products and services committed to positive social and environmental impact. . In this workshop, Career Coach and Talent Development Consultant Emily Lamia will show you how to understand what social impact means to you and gain clarity on the career path options within the social impact sector that most excite you. Free.
An extraordinary annual design competition and the most unique food charity in the world, Canstruction challenges teams of architects, engineers, and contractors to build sculptures made entirely out of unopened cans of food. The large-scale structures are placed on display and later donated to City Harvest for distribution to those in need. Free.
Webinar with Michael Mauboussin. Most investment books try to assess the attractiveness of a stock price by estimating the value of the company. Expectations Investing, by Michael Mauboussin and Alfred Rappaport, provides a powerful and insightful alternative to identifying gaps between price and value.
The authors suggest that an investor start with a known quantity, the stock price, and ask what it implies for future financial results. After showing how to read expectations, they provide a guide to rigorous strategic and financial analysis to help investors assess the likelihood of revisions to these expectations. Free.
•109 West Broadway, application for new entry portal design inspired by the maritime history of downtown Manhattan – Resolution
•Noland Park, application for the replacement of windows at thirteen wood-framed buildings of similar type and construction with new aluminum/aluminum-clad replacement units that replicate the historic 6/6 configuration – Resolution
•The Arts Center at Governors Island, application for alteration of exterior cafe signage using aluminum panel and attached letterform illuminated lamps – Resolution
•Questions about Inclusion and Equity – Discussion
In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we present Smoke Signals (1998, Chris Eyre), the first feature film written, directed, and produced by Native Americans. It is a story of two childhood acquaintances who become friends on a trip from their reservation in Idaho to Colorado. Virtual program. Registration required. Free.
Love stories during the Holocaust are as inspiring as they are remarkable. In photographer Max Hirshfeld’s new book Sweet Noise: Love in Wartime, he offers an intimate look at one of these stories through powerful photographs, a series of emotional love letters between his parents, and the narrative of a son’s pilgrimage exploring his origins. Join the Museum for a program exploring Hirshfeld’s work with the photographer and Jacqueline Kott-Wolle, a fellow artist and daughter of Holocaust survivors. Hirshfeld and Kott-Wolle will explore different forms of love, expression, and the idea that Jewish trauma and hardship did not end after the war. $10.
What better time than Saturday mornings to practice your art Participants are expected to bring their own drawing and painting supplies, including drawing boards and containers of water if they are planning to paint. BPCA will supply drawing paper and watercolor paper only. Free.
Antiques. Jewelry. Art. Vintage goods and local designers. A beloved street fair makes the move from the Lower East Side to the Seaport. Kicking off on Labor Day Weekend, Hester Street Fair is now in the neighborhood. Come and browse the stalls. Snack. Music by Wade and Sammy. Tightly curated. Wildly creative.
The tall ship Wavertree, the lightship Ambrose, and the tug W.O. Decker are open to the public. Explore Wavertree and Ambrose while they are docked; cruise New York Harbor on W.O. Decker. Wavertree and Ambrose visits are free; Decker prices vary. Check website for times, prices and other details.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Providing Companion and Home Health Aide Care to clients with dementia.Help with grooming, dressing and wheelchair assistance. Able to escort client to parks and engage in conversations of desired topics and interests of client. Reliable & Honest
Reliable, trustworthy and caring Nanny looking for full time position preferably with newborns, infants and toddlers. I have experience in the Battery Park City area for 8 years. I will provide a loving, safe and nurturing environment for your child. Refs available upon request. Beverly 347 882 6612
HOUSEKEEPING/ NANNY/ BABYSITTER
Available for PT/FT. Wonderful person, who is a great worker.
Worked in BPC. Call Tenzin
SEEKING LIVE-IN ELDER CARE
12 years experience, refs avail. I am a loving caring hardworking certified home health aide
Alliance Aims to Encourage Storefront Startups in Lower Manhattan
The Downtown Alliance is offering a package of free incentives and support services, valued at $10,000, to help new retailers and restaurants seeking to open in Lower Manhattan. The Jump Start program is designed to give small businesses a better chance at success in both the physical and online marketplace, by offering up to 20 eligible applicants a customized strategic launch plan, along with four interactive consultation sessions. Services will include advice on everything from driving foot traffic to creating a successful e-commerce platform.
Samascott Orchard Orchard fruit, strawberries from Columbia County, New York
Francesa’s Bakery Breads and baked goods from Middlesex County, New Jersey
Meredith’s Bakery Baked goods from Ulster County, New York
Riverine Ranch Water Buffalo meat and cheeses from Warren County, New Jersey
1857 Spirits Handcrafted potato vodka from Schoharie County, New York
SNAP/EBT/P-EBT, Debit/Credit, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks accepted
TODAY IN HISTORY
1947 – In California, designer Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Spruce Goose or H-4
1675 – Plymouth Colony governor Josiah Winslow leads a colonial militia against the Narragansett during King Philip’s War.
1889 – North Dakota and South Dakota are admitted as the 39th and 40th U.S. states.
1898 – Cheerleading is started at the University of Minnesota with Johnny Campbell leading the crowd in cheering on the football team.
1917 – The Balfour Declaration proclaims British support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” with the clear understanding “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities”.
1920 – In the United States, KDKA of Pittsburgh starts broadcasting as the first commercial radio station. The first broadcast is the result of the United States presidential election, 1920.
1930 – Haile Selassie is crowned emperor of Ethiopia.
1947 – In California, designer Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Spruce Goose or H-4 The Hercules; the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built. It was intended as a transatlantic flight transport for use during World War II, it was not completed in time to be used in the war The winged giant made only one flight on November 2, 1947. The unannounced decision to fly was made by Hughes during a taxi test. With Hughes at the controls, David Grant as co-pilot, and several engineers, crewmen and journalists on board, the Spruce Goose flew just over one mile at an altitude of 70 feet for one minute. The short hop proved to skeptics that the gigantic machine could fly.
It was born out of a need to move troops and material across the Atlantic Ocean, where in 1942, German submarines were sinking hundreds of Allied ships. Henry Kaiser, steel magnate and shipbuilder, conceived the idea of a massive flying transport and turned to Howard Hughes to design and build it. Hughes took on the task, made even more challenging by the government’s restrictions on materials critical to the war effort, such as steel and aluminum. Six times larger than any aircraft of its time, the Spruce Goose, also known as the Flying Boat, is made entirely of wood. Originally designated HK-1 for the first aircraft built by Hughes-Kaiser, the giant was re-designated H-4 when Henry Kaiser withdrew from the project in 1944. Nevertheless, the press insisted on calling it the “Spruce Goose” despite the fact that the plane is made almost entirely of birch.
159 – Quiz show scandals: Twenty One game show contestant Charles Van Doren admits to a Congressional committee that he had been given questions and answers in advance.
1960 – Penguin Books is found not guilty of obscenity in the trial R v Penguin Books Ltd, the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case.
1963 – South Vietnamese President Ngô Đình Diệm is assassinated following a military coup.
1965 – Norman Morrison, a 31-year-old Quaker, sets himself on fire in front of the river entrance to the Pentagon to protest the use of napalm in the Vietnam war.
1984 – Capital punishment: Velma Barfield becomes the first woman executed in the United States since 1962. Margie Velma Barfield was an American serial killer, convicted of one murder, but she eventually confessed to six murders
1734 – Daniel Boone, American hunter and explorer (d. 1820)
1755 – Marie Antoinette, Austrian-French queen consort of Louis XVI of France (d. 1793)
1795 – James K. Polk, American lawyer and politician, 11th President of the United States (d. 1849)
1865 – Warren G. Harding, journalist and politician, 29th President of the United States (d. 1923)
1961 – k.d. lang, Canadian singer-songwriter, producer, and actress
1887 – Jenny Lind, Swedish operatic soprano (b. 1820)
1950 – George Bernard Shaw, Irish author, playwright, and critic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1856)
1990 – Eliot Porter, American photographer, chemist, and academic (b. 1901)
2004 – Theo van Gogh, Dutch actor, director, and producer (b. 1957)
2007 – The Fabulous Moolah, American wrestler (b. 1923)
Melissa Elstein says
Thank you for covering this important story. Every day, except during inclement weather, those living or working under these helicopter flights suffer from the negative effects of excessive noise pollution. Noise pollution is a health issue; studies demonstrate increased risk of cardiac disease, higher blood pressure, endocrine system disorders and lowered cognition due to exposure to noise pollution. Additionally, these nonessential tourist sightseeing helicopters are completely unnecessary. There are multiple observation decks in NYC that allow tourists to see NYC from above rather than driving to NJ locations to then fly loudly over NJ and NYC neighborhoods, parks and waterways. These gas guzzling helicopters contribute to air pollution and during this climate crises “Code Red” era it makes no sense to allow fossil fuel based joy rides simply for social media selfies! Additionally, commuter flights to the airports and the Hamptons (and other nearby locations) also needlessly pollute our skies. These 1 percenters who can afford this loud and polluting mode of transportation create suffering for the masses. This is truly a “tale of 2 cities” and Mayor DeBlasio could end the nonessential helicopter leases at our 3 Manhattan-based heliports today. Ban this low-hanging fossil fuel fruit and improve our urban air quality, end excessive noise pollution, and protect New Yorkers quality of life and safety. Regarding the West 30th Heliport, it is especially egregious as it is located inside the Hudson River Park, next to the busy bike and recreational lane, kayaking and sailing schools, and near Little Island Park. Commuters do not need to take helicopters as multiple alternatives exist that are quieter, less polluting and safer. Readers, please sign our petition to support passage of the federal bill to ban said helicopters; we are a grassroots all-volunteer nonprofit with members in NYC, NJ, Westchester, and Long Island – see http://www.stopthechopnynj.org Please join our movement!