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Red Hook chop stop! City bans helicopters over neighborhood

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The city has banned tourist helicopters over Red Hook, amending a controversial flight plan that diverted choppers to the forsaken peninsula to appease residents in tonier Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO.

Choppers will now be allowed to fly only over the Buttermilk Channel — the body of water between Red Hook and Governors Island — and not over the long-put-upon peninsula.

“The city takes the complaints of Red Hook residents seriously,” said Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for the Economic Development Corporation, which oversees helicopter traffic.

The agency promised not only the new route, but a “strict enforcement system,” Wood added.

The move comes three months after residents blasted the city for allowing the skies over Red Hook to become a whirlybird Wild West, collateral damage from the 2009 closure of a heliport on Manhattan’s West Side.

The shuttering shunted more air traffic to a location near the South Street Seaport, filling the skies over DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights with choppers. Residents in those neighborhoods urged an amended flight plan — and got one last April.

But one neighborhood’s pleasure was another’s pain-in-the-ear.

The shuttering shunted more air traffic to a location near the South Street Seaport, filling the skies over DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights with choppers. Residents in those neighborhoods demanded — and got last April — an amended flight plan that forbid choppers over any part of land in Brooklyn.

But then complaints started to fly in from officials at Governors Island — which is devoid of residents, but home to a school and other cultural attractions. The result? Choppers were flying closer to mainland Red Hook.

And then the Department of Homeland Security mistakenly told the city that there was a security issue with the choppers flying over the cruise terminal at Pier 12 along the waterfront, further pushing flyboys over the peninsula, according to a city official.

The newly refined flight plan took effect April 14. Pilots will be fined $100 for a first offense, and on May 1, scofflaws will receive a $1,000 fine.

Residents were thrilled with the news.

“It’s about time!” said Sue Peebles, a Beard Street resident. “You can’t imagine how loud these things were.”

But Red Hook sky-watchers said they haven’t noticed a change just yet.

“So far, it seems like it’s being disregarded,” said Wolcott Street resident Todd Bonne, who vowed to closely monitor the clouds.

“I don’t mind one every blue moon, but a helicopter ever five minutes — all you hear is the sound. We just want them to please make it stop.”

Updated 11:17 am, April 26, 2011: Includes more information.
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Reader Feedback

Joey from Clinton Hills says:
will this be enforced along the same lines as the "No Honking" Signs?
April 21, 2011, 11:39 am
noise copter from Red Hook says:
The ban of tourist Helicopters over Brooklyn does not change the situation. They are now flying a few feet past the shoreline. This Sunday they were passing over every 3 or 4 minutes. The Columbia street waterfront District and Red Hook are subjected to a constant loud drone . As we know the noise of helicopters is amplified over water, and these are both waterfront communities. The helicopters are just to frequent and to loud. It's noise pollution plain and simple. Nothing has changed. The EDC does not care one bit about the residents of our community. We are just told to call 311.
April 25, 2011, 2:32 pm
Judy Stanton from Brooklyn Heights says:
From where we sit on this side of the East River, nothing has changed for the better. On Easter Sunday, residents reported 12, repeat 12 helicopters on the helipad at one time, rotors going, while three helicopters hovered next to the Brooklyn Bridge waiting for space to land. What does that tell you about the much vaunted "regulation" that was supposed to keep planes from going up the East River?
April 25, 2011, 7:39 pm
Soured from Red Hook says:
Too bad, maybe they would have brought more of the business the cruise ships have graced local Hook shopkeepers with.
April 25, 2011, 8:18 pm
Redhook from Red Hook Brooklyn says:
It is like the Apocolypse here in Red Hook...

http://facebook.com/redhookbrooklyn
April 28, 2011, 7:54 am
madd ass park man from columbia street says:
These choppers are just to annoying for all the residents of these communities. They need to be banned once and for all. This is considered noise pollution, plain and simple.
May 30, 2011, 8:37 pm
peace ful pete from red hook says:
nothing as changed they are still flying ever 4 minutes on the weekends. they need to ban the tourist flights all together. they are ruining all the park goers and residents quality of life.
June 19, 2011, 10:03 pm
Frank Palmer from Red Hook says:
For the 4th time this week we have a low-flying helicopter cruising the Red Hook skys for whatever reason...and to what end? Tourism, film-making, crime fighting? The helicopter has no NYPD or TV station markings... Back and forth, it's flight path completely random..but always LOUD and LOW...try calling 311 these days?...good luck with that excercise in futility...Red Hook is being disrespected...and the City could give a rat's a**...
June 25, 2011, 1:57 pm
Mr Smith from Columbia Street says:
What is it going to take for the Mayor to realize that he is allowing all these choppers to ruin the residents lives. The noise the choppers make is ear piercing, I don't understand why he doesn't understand this.

Mayor Guilliani banned these flights for quality of life issues, but mayor Dumberg re-instated them.
Is there something wrong with him???, yes, it is called greed
July 2, 2011, 10:29 pm

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