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Chopper Noise Disturbs Residents In Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn

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TWC News: Chopper Noise Disturbs Residents In Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn
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Living in New York, it's nearly impossible to escape noise, but some residents of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights say the sound of helicopters annoys them more than anything else. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report.

For residents of Brooklyn Heights and Lower Manhattan, the buzzing sound of helicopters is becoming an increasingly annoying part of their daily lives.

"It's really bad. It's supposed to be a peaceful place," said Brooklyn Heights resident Irwin Susskind.

Since April 1, residents and politicians say helicopter noise has greatly increased, since the heliport on Manhattan's West 30th Street is no longer open to tourist helicopters. That has resulted in excess air traffic at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport along the East River.

Congressman Jerry Nadler and several other elected officials had expressed their concerns in a letter to Mayor Bloomberg

"We're asking that the tourist helicopters be either greatly reduced or completely eliminated," said Nadler.

According to the city's Economic Development Corporation, helicopter landings at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport increased about 10 percent over this time last year. The vast majority are helicopters that provide tourists with aerial views of the city.

"Manhattan and Brooklyn is more beautiful when you're on the ground. You have the chance to see some of the most beautiful things anywhere in the world," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

City officials believe banning tourist helicopters would not necessarily solve the problem, because tour operators would not stop flying over the city. Instead, the companies would move their operations to places like New Jersey, taking with them the millions of dollars in tax revenue they pay the city.

In a statement, an EDC spokesman said, "We are working with elected officials, the community, the helicopter operators and the [Federal Aviation Administration] to develop a New York Air Tour Management Plan to address the concerns associated with the downtown heliport. The plan will be released in the coming weeks."

Officials said their concerns about helicopter traffic should be taken even more seriously now, especially in light of last summer's deadly helicopter collision over the Hudson River.

That accident resulted in changes to the airspace over the Hudson River. Currently, uncontrolled air travel is allowed below 1,500 feet along the East River, south of the Brooklyn Bridge.

"The noise is terrible and I really believe over this densely-populated area that it is dangerous," said resident Clint Padgitt.

For now, some residents hoped the noise and their fears will disappear soon.

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