A group led by State Senator Daniel Squadron rallied at Brooklyn Bridge Park for a complete ban on tourist helicopter flights, which they say cause non-stop noise problems for residents of waterfront neighborhoods like Red Hook and Brooklyn Heights.
“We don’t need the constant parade of helicopters,” Squadron said. “Chopper tours can't come at the expense of our neighborhoods' quality of life.”
The May 15th rally was the latest attempt to curb the helicopter tours.
In 2010, after tourist flights were banned from the West 30th Street Heliport, helicopters began using the Downtown Manhattan Heliport. The change caused an increase in noise, especially around Red Hook, prompting the city Economic Development Corporation to impose new regulations.
Officials said the measures have not made enough of a difference.
“It's clear the oversight has not been working,” Congressman Jerrold Nadler said. “The sheer number of helicopters has become intolerable.”
Instead of getting better the problem has gotten worse, residents said.
“I see as many as four copters on a pad at a time,” said Christa Rice, a Brooklyn Heights resident.
Duncan McGonagle, a Vietnam War veteran, said the noise from the hovering helicopters gives him flashbacks. “It sounds like being in Vietnam,” said McGonagle, who lives in Red Hook.
In a statement, the Eastern Region Helicopter Council defended the tourist flights, saying over the past several years they've brought the city much-needed business.