Aerial nightmare in New York

One of the collected comments reads like this. “You feel the same as having an elephant sitting on your chest.” This image, which shows a heavy load, even for cachazodos, sums up a state of mind among New Yorkers. Especially those who reside in lower Manhattan and the West Side, where nonessential helicopter flights are concentrated, who are the ones who fly tourists over skyscrapers or transport the wealthy to airports or their mansions in the Hamptons.

Although this urban soundtrack is annoying – and the humming of the propellers is a joke – in this city, it has always been accepted to pay a price in decibels to live there. A fairly recurring question in the conversations of European expatriates, generally from a good level of existence, consists of this problem: Is your apartment noisy?

Stop the Chop calls for only essential flights (police, health) to be allowed, which they say is 5%

Kathi, a resident of the Upper West Side (96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue), illustrates this with her answer. “Why do you live in Manhattan if you can’t stand the noise? »

Yes, it’s true, but the pandemic has opened the eyes and sound senses of many residents of this metropolis. During the worst period of the covid, a strange silence reigned in this closed New York, only punctuated by the sirens of the ambulances. The chirping of birds was heard. At which some reopening has taken place, citizens resting and sleeping in the supposed city that does not sleep – bit of a cliche! and legendary fake news – understood how boring and useless these low-flying planes are in the vast majority of cases.

Complaints for these nuisances exploded in 2021, more than 22,000, especially in Manhattan, and triple the records of 2019. This was influenced by the fact that many residents were working from home. They discovered this huge penalty.

This is how the meaning of Stop the Chop is understood, a non-profit organization that seeks to limit the flight of helicopters to the essentials, which represent only about 5% of the total, say -they. To achieve this goal, she launched a campaign to collect signatures on the Internet.

The catalog of harmful effects is specified on its website. He argues that it’s bad for the city for security reasons. “The unnecessary and incessant noise on our homes, our parks and our open spaces distorts the urban oases we need to escape the dense streets”, he nuances.

Other negative effects are suffered by companies, problem in which they allude to the devaluation of buildings; the environment, producing 430,000 grams of carbon dioxide per hour; and public health.

“Excessive helicopter traffic creates extreme noise that is believed to cause a wide range of serious physical and mental problems,” he says in this final section. “It can also impair memory, reading and speech comprehension, and reduce cognitive abilities in children and adults,” he insists, without referring to scientific studies.

Stop the Chop, which unites New York and New Jersey, held protests at helipads in lower Manhattan, three in all, responding to demand from local tourists and commuters.

Not counting flights to and from the other side of the Hudson River, Andy Rosenthal, president and treasurer of this organization, points out that there are approximately 60,000 annual flights in these three facilities. This means a total of 120,000 operations (take-off and landing), about thirteen per hour, according to his calculations, which fly over a very limited geographical radius of New York.

“There is no control over the situation,” notes Melissa Elstein, secretary and spokesperson. “I hear the noise 20 blocks before I see them,” he says. “In some places in the metropolitan area, there is a noise reminiscent of a war zone,” he laments.

Board member Adrian Benepe remarks that it’s “like the Wild West, and the helicopter industry saw an opportunity to position itself against the collapse of ground transportation.” This is the price of the Big Apple’s global success.

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