Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Pup, Pup in the Air
Schumer Blasts ‘Doors-Off’ Chopper Flights That Now Carry Dogs
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer announced yesterday that a New Jersey-based helicopter tour operator — still being investigated for a March, 2018 crash in the East River that killed five people — is continuing to operate “doors-off” flights over Manhattan that cater to thrill seekers, under the legal pretext of running a commercial photography service. He also revealed that the same company, FlyNYON, is now offering the option to bring dogs aboard such flights.
“It is outrageous that despite the deaths of five innocent people in a dangerous doors-off chopper flight, and two active Federal investigations into lapsed safety, that FlyNYON is still operating those same flights at desperate discounts. But now, it is a sheer jaw-drop to know that the same company is strapping in dogs for people to snap pictures of while the animals all but dangle high above New York skies,” Mr. Schumer said at a Sunday press conference. He added that, “strapping in dogs for dangerous doors-off flights over New York is just totally repugnant; another disaster-in-waiting.”
Senator Schumer explained that the federal license under which FlyNYON operates is based on the firm’s claim to offer “aerial photography” helicopter flights, which are meant to cater to professionals, such as media personnel and surveyors, rather than passengers hoping for a striking view. The fact that these passengers are encouraged to take pictures during such flights arguably brings the company into technical compliance with the letter, if not the intent, of these regulations
On March 11, 2018, five passengers in a FlyNYON 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 as the eighteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 approaches. What had never been publicly acknowledged before the March 11 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 March 11 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 newly rebuilt World Trade Center.
This worry is compounded by the fact that the heliport from which FlyNYON operates, in Kearny, New Jersey, is not staffed by screeners from the Transportation Security Administration, who check passangers at major airports for weapons. As Delia von Neuschatz, a Battery Park City resident and member of Stop the Chop/NY-NJ — a grassroots coalition of waterfront residents in Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey that is lobbying to scale back the flight tours — told the Broadsheet in 2014, “nobody who gets on those flights is searched or screened the way every passenger is at LaGuardia and Kennedy and Newark Airports. But the site of the worst terrorist attack in American history, which was perpetrated using hijacked aircraft,” is just a few minutes flying time from this facility. “So anybody who wants to take control of a helicopter and dive it into a building in Lower Manhattan would just have to pretend to be a tourist, pay for a ticket, and get onboard.”
In this scenario, even if rigorous security and passenger screening measures were implemented at a heliport from which “doors-off” flights originate, it would make no difference, because every passenger is provided with a deadly weapon after boarding.
Helicopter tourism flights have been a chronic a source of controversy for more than a decade among Lower Manhattan residents, who see a detriment to quality of life as well as a hazard to public health and safety in the flights that originate each day from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport and ferry tourists up and down the Hudson River waterfront.
One reason for the high concentration of tourist flights at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport is that few other facilities will permit such operations. In recent years, tourist flights have been banned from two other Manhattan heliports (one at the 34th Street and the East River; the other at 30th Street and the Hudson River), as well as from a waterfront heliport in Jersey City, directly across the Hudson River from the Battery Park City Esplanade.
In July, 2013, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and U.S. Congressman Albio Sires (both Democrats from New Jersey) called for a complete prohibition of helicopter tour flights over the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. (The mayors of five New Jersey cities and towns joined in this call for a ban: Hoboken, Weehawken, North Bergen, West New York, and Guttenberg.) Their proposal was never enacted.
In 2014, a coalition of two dozen local elected officials wrote to Mayor de Blasio asking him to ban helicopter tours. The de Blasio administration has thus far declined to take any such action.
These concerns were highlighted in 2009, when a tour helicopter (flying out of the West 30th Street heliport) collided with a small private plane over the Hudson River, between Hoboken and Manhattan’s Meat Packing District. All nine people in both aircraft were killed.
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.
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Networking for a Cause
LMHQ (150 Broadway, near Liberty Street) will partner with the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network to host a happy hour event tonight Monday, September 9, starting at 6:00 pm.
A fee of $10 buys admission for one, plus two drink tickets, as well as a presentation from the Nonprofit Learning Lab.
Refreshments and lights snacks will also be served. For more information, click here.
The Fraunces Tavern Museum and Restaurant will observe its 300th Anniversary on Tuesday, October 1, starting at 7:00 pm, with a gala soirée featuring hors d’oeuvres, drinks, a champagne toast, live 18th-century music on genuine colonial instruments, and (of course) a birthday cake.
The event will commemorate 1719 construction of the building at 54 Pearl Street, which was transformed into a tavern by Samuel Fraunces in 1762 — just in time to become a popular gathering place for George Washington and other leaders of the American Revolution.
Fraunces Tavern Museum director Jacqueline Masseo calls the occasion, “a great way to share this historic moment,” and “a birthday party to celebrate the building’s constant presence in the Lower Manhattan community with those who have supported the building and its history, such as school children, locals, tourists, and foodies.”
Tickets are priced at $175. To register, or for more information, please browse: www.frauncestavernmuseum.org.
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The Battery Park City Authority will host a Zumba Jumpstart fitness dance party at Six River Terrace (across from the Irish Hunger Memorial and next to Le Pain Quotidien) on Tuesday, September 10, starting at 10:30 am.
Professional instructors will jazz students with upbeat Latin music, including salsa, merengue, hip-hop, and more. Admission is free.
Also on September 10 (and again on September 17), the Seaport Fit Summer with Trooper Fitness series continues at 6:30 pm with a team-oriented conditioning session focused on cardio and strength training methods that will improve overall conditioning, stamina/endurance, strength, and mental toughness.
Admission is free, but advanced registration is required. To R.S.V.P., or get more information, please browse: www.seaportdistrict.nyc.
Annual Fall Yard Sale at Southbridge Towers
The Annual Fall Yard Sale at Southbridge Towers will take place on Thursday-to-Saturday, September 12, 13 and 14 from 10AM-6PM.
Great bargains on interesting bric-a-brak, one-of-a-kind finds and lots of jewelry.
Enter via Fulton St.-next to Key-Food or on Pearl/Beekman Sts.
Note: Rain dates: Sept. 19, 20, 21 (same times-same place).
Contact: Ms. Jill Zilker, G.M. – Southbridge Towers 212-267-6190
Today in History
9 AD – Arminius’ alliance of six Germanic tribes ambushes and annihilates three Roman legions of Publius Quinctilius Varus in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.
337 – Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans succeed their father Constantine I as co-emperors. The Roman Empire is divided between the three Augusti.
1087 – William Rufus becomes King of England, taking the title William II, (reigned until 1100).
1739 – Stono Rebellion, the largest slave uprising in Britain’s mainland North American colonies prior to the American Revolution, erupts near Charleston, South Carolina.
1850 – The Compromise of 1850 transfers a third of Texas’s claimed territory (now parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming) to federal control in return for the U.S. federal government assuming $10 million of Texas’s pre-annexation debt.
1947 – Alleged first case of a computer bug being found: A moth lodges in a relay of a Harvard Mark II computer at Harvard University.
1948 – Kim Il-sung declares the establishment of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).
1956 – Elvis Presley appears on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.
1971 – The four-day Attica Prison riot begins, eventually resulting in 39 dead, most killed by state troopers retaking the p1991 – Tajikistan declares independence from the Soviet Union.
2001 – Ahmad Shah Massoud, leader of the Northern Alliance, is assassinated in Afghanistan by two al-Qaeda assassins who claimed to be Arab journalists wanting an interview.
2012 – The Indian space agency puts into orbit its heaviest foreign satellite yet, in a streak of 21 consecutive successful PSLV launches.
Unfortunately just last week on September 6, India’s attempt to be the fourth nation to land a craft on the lunar surface failed..
2016 – The government of North Korea conducts its fifth and reportedly biggest nuclear test. World leaders condemn the act, with South Korea calling it “maniacal recklessness”.
1711 – Thomas Hutchinson, English historian and politician, Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay (d. 1780)
1828 – Leo Tolstoy, Russian author and playwright (d. 1910)
1887 – Alf Landon, American lieutenant, banker, and politician, 26th Governor of Kansas (d. 1987)
1890 – Colonel Sanders, American businessman, founded KFC (d. 1980)
1928 – Sol LeWitt, American painter and sculptor (d. 2007)
1000 – Olaf I, king of Norway
1087 – William the Conqueror, English king (b. 1028)
1487 – Chenghua, emperor of China (b. 1447)
1513 – James IV, king of Scotland (b. 1473)
1569 – Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Dutch painter (b. 1525)
1611 – Eleanor de’ Medici, Italian nobleman (b. 1567)
1806 – William Paterson, second Governor of New Jersey (b. 1745)
1901 – Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French painter and illustrator (b. 1864)
1976 – Mao Zedong, Chinese philosopher, academic, and politician, 1st Chairman of the Communist Party of China (b. 1893)
1999 – Catfish Hunter, American baseball player (b. 1946)
2003 – Edward Teller, Hungarian-American physicist and academic (b. 1908)
September Storm Passing Over Staten Island
To the editor:
Re: Preserving the Rector Street bridge; Affordable housing and the bankruptcy of 125 Greenwich; Don’t get your bathing suit on yet
Governor Taking a Shrine to
Battery Park City
Budget, Possible Locations, and Deadline for Designs Announced for Hurricane Maria Memorial
The administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo has narrowed down its initial list of six possible sites for a Hurricane Maria Memorial in Battery Park City to just two: The Esplanade Plaza (at the southwest corner of South Cove Marina) and the Chambers Street Overlook (at the intersection of Chambers Street and River Terrace).
Federal Court Dismisses Suits Against BPCA By September 11 Cleanup Workers
United States District Court judge Alvin Hellerstein has dismissed more than 100 suits against the Battery Park City Authority, brought by rescue, recovery and cleanup workers who were made sick by exposure to toxins while laboring in the community during the weeks and months that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. To read more…
Across the Harbor
While Greta Thunberg was sailing across the Atlantic to the shores of Lower Manhattan, we ventured across the Upper Bay of New York Harbor to the Island of Staten, to visit what’s becoming an engaging destination.
Soccer Practice at the Battery Park City Ballfields
Where Figs Ply
A Fig Aficionado’s Fest
Fig Fest, an annual gathering of local fig growers and aficionados, will take place at the National Lighthouse Museum (200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point, Staten Island), steps away from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal at St. George on Sunday, September 15, starting at 4:00 pm.
A $5 donation is requested. For more information, please email
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Cass Gilbert and the Evolution of the New York Skyscraper
by John Simko
EYES TO THE SKY
September 2 – 15, 2019
Seasonal change written all over the sky
As September begins, it seems abrupt that the dark of night comes early, the light of day comes late and a new chill in the air reverses embedded routines for how to respond to summer heat. All the while, when looking up to the universe of familiar stars and star patterns, sky watchers respond to the age-old markers of the passage of the year. The progress of the seasons is written all over the sky.
At nightfall the Great Square of Pegasus, harbinger of autumn, is sketched on the heavens above the eastern skyline. It is a star pattern, or asterism, shaped by four nearly equally spaced stars, three from the constellation Pegasus and one from Andromeda. The Great Square may be difficult to see with the naked eye in light polluted skies, however, the celestial lights that follow are yours to enjoy, city or countryside.
Cruise Ships in the Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Tuesday, September 10
Inbound 6am; outbound 5pm;
Martha’s Vineyard, MA/Portland ME/Canadian Maritimes
Thursday, September 12
Anthem of the Seas
Inbound 6:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 4:00 pm;
New England/Canadian Maritimes
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 4:30 pm; Bermuda
Inbound 7:15 am; outbound 5:30 pm; New England/Canadian Maritimes/Quebec City/Montreal
Friday, September 13
Inbound 7:15 am; in port overnight
Sunday, September 15
Outbound 1:30 pm; Bermuda/Bahamas/Florida/Norfolk, VA/Baltimore, MD
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 4:30 pm; Maine/Canadian Maritimes
Queen Mary 2
Inbound 6:00 am (Brooklyn); outbound 5:00 pm; Transatlantic (Southampton, UK/Hamburg, Germany)
Many ships pass Lower Manhattan on their way to and from the Midtown Passenger Ship Terminal. Others may be seen on their way to or from piers in Brooklyn and Bayonne. Stated times, when appropriate, are for passing the Colgate clock in Jersey City, New Jersey, and are based on sighting histories, published schedules and intuition. They are also subject to tides, fog, winds, freak waves, hurricanes and the whims of upper management.
Anthem of the Seas Spins About
The Tale of the Ticker Tape,
or How Adversity and Spontaneity
Hatched a New York Tradition
What was Planned as a Grand Affair became a Comedy of Errors
While the festivities in New York Harbor didn’t go as scripted that afternoon, the spontaneous gesture it generated from the brokerage houses lining Broadway famously lives on more than a century later.
On October 28, 1886, Liberty Enlightening the World was to be unveiled to New York City and the world as it stood atop its tall base on Bedloe’s Island. But the morning mist had turned to afternoon fog, blurring the view of the statue from revelers on the Manhattan shore and the long parade of three hundred ships on the Hudson River.
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