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Helicopters on the agenda at city council hearing today

Benepe: ‘Thanksgiving Day destroyed’ by helicopter noise and now there’s a NYC noise app

November 29, 2022 Mary Frost
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Helicopters are on the agenda at the New York City Council today, as Councilmember Amanda Farias, chair of the Economic Development Committee, was scheduled to hold an oversight hearing on heliport operations at 10 a.m. 

“Overall, what I’m seeing is not enough public opportunity for participation on topics and once they are heard, we don’t get to hear them again. I’d like to engage with [the] community as much as we can on this — so I’m starting with an oversight hearing,” Farias tweeted.

Brooklyn’s most popular waterfront communities, including Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and DUMBO, have been complaining about the incessant noise and safety threats from tourist choppers for years. The racket is especially jarring in parks including Brooklyn Bridge Park and on Governors Island, where city dwellers seek a bit of peace.

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“Thanksgiving Day in NYC [was] destroyed by the feckless, greedy tourist helicopter industry,” Adrian Benepe, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and former NYC Parks Commissioner, tweeted on Thanksgiving.  

A Helicopter flies over New York harbor, the Statue of Liberty in the background.
Eagle photo: Don Evans

The Brooklyn Heights Association supports legislation that would prohibit nonessential helicopters from flying within New York City airspace. BHA has endorsed a bill to eliminate nonessential helicopter trips over the city introduced by City Councilmembers Lincoln Restler (Greenpoint, Brooklyn Heights), Gale Brewer (Upper West Side) and Shahana Hanif (Carroll Gardens, Park Slope). 

The Cobble Hill Association has also gotten numerous complaints, the organization said in an email to members on Monday. They urged members to attend Tuesday’s hearing, or to submit written testimony. (Written testimony can be submitted up to 72 hours after the hearing at

Since 311 won’t collect helicopter noise complaints (Update: Yes it does), they also linked to a new iPhone app called “Right Avenues: NYU Live Noise,” which anonymously collects and aggregates the complaints. That app is available at the Apple app store.

Stop the Chop endorses Restler Bill

The nonprofit Stop the Chop NY/NJ is the main advocacy group fighting non-essential helicopter traffic. In June, Stop the Chop’s President Andrew Rosenthal endorsed Restler’s bill.

“This bill is exactly what New York City needs to improve the quality of life for its citizens,” Rosenthal said. 

Restler’s bill, however, is not the subject of Tuesday’s hearing, his spokesperson Nieve Mooney told the Eagle on Monday. But Restler was set to testify at the committee hearing.

“The city of New York has spent conservatively $5 billion dollars building new waterfront parks and interior parks across Brooklyn and Queens, only to have their effect ruined by the helicopters,” Benepe said at the introduction to Restler’s bill in June.

“There might be a few million a year return on investment from the helicopters for the city and the parks. There’s a technical word for that in budget talk: Bupkis! In exchange for bupkis, we are destroying this city.”

UPDATE: Though the process is confusing, 311 does accept helicopter noise complaints. Read how to do it, here.

A helicopter hovers near the Statue of Liberty.
Photo: Richard Drew/AP


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