Mayor Bloomberg denies tourist helicopter ban over residential areas

Daniel L. Squadron

June 06, 2011

NY Daily News

BY Erin Durkin AND Jake Pearson

Thursday, June 2nd 2011, 4:00 AM

Tourists helicopters won't be grounded despite noise complaints.

The Bloomberg administration Wednesday refused demands from Brooklyn pols to ban noisy helicopter tours over the city.

Just hours after Rep. Nydia Velazquez (Brooklyn/Queens/Manhaattan) asked Mayor Bloomberg to chop all tourist helicopter traffic, a mayoral spokesman fired back that the flights were good for the economy - and they would go on.

"Since the FAA, not the city, controls the air space, suspending tourist helicopter flights at local heliports would not eliminate traffic or noise but instead would simply shift departures to New Jersey and Nassau County," said spokesman Andrew Brent.

Brent said Bloomberg would continue to work with local elected officials and neighborhood groups - who have complained for years about noise levels caused by the chopper traffic - but insisted $50 million in annual helicopter business was too valuable to lose.

Brooklyn residents living along the waterfront in neighborhoods such Brooklyn Heights and Red Hook have complained about the noise generated by the tourist helicopters. When Brooklyn Bridge Park opened last year, the complaints increased.

Velazquez, who joined other elected officials last month to protest the noise and stop the tour rides, wrote Bloomberg that the "the largely unregulated flights that disturb the peace in Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods must stop."

State Sen. Daniel Squadron said he was "disappointed" by the mayor's response.

"A solution that doesn't work is no solution at all," said Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights).

A year ago, Squadron, Velazquez and others made a deal with the city to monitor tour helicopter flights, limiting the time they can be in the air, the altitude of flights and even arranging for a $1,000 fine for violations.

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