Hell–icopter! Red Hook fighting chopper noise

Hell–icopter! Red Hook fighting chopper noise
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Not in my sky!

Red Hook residents are furious at increased helicopter traffic over the long-put-upon neighborhood — a result of the choppers being diverted from tonier Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO.

“They look at our neighborhood and say, ‘What can we do here next?’ ” said Sue Peebles, a Beard Street resident.

The noisy situation is collateral damage from the 2009 closure of a heliport on Manhattan’s West Side. That shutdown forced more air traffic to a Lower Manhattan location, filling the skies over Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO with choppers.

After critics in those neighborhoods demand an amended flight plan, the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which oversees helicopter traffic, negotiated a deal with sightseeing companies last April to reduce about 30 percent of flights from that Lower Manhattan helipad.

But the city is now allowing choppers to fly along the coast of Red Hook so they can avoid flying over Governors Island — which is uninhabited but has a school and other cultural attractions.

Residents say they’re observing up to five more chopper passes each day, double previous observations.

“It disturbs our baby during nap time, and our dogs go nuts with the noise,” said Coffey Street resident Gordon Terry.

The city contends the route does not include any residential areas, but did not provide a flight path at press time.

“We are actively working to minimize the impact of helicopter noise on Brooklyn residents by making sure that helicopters stay within the route,” said Julie Wood, a development corporation spokeswoman.

That’s not good enough for residents such as Peebles, who said the waterfront neighborhood is once again getting the shaft, as it has been besieged by land (in the form of truck traffic and hazardous roadways), sea (thanks to toxic fumes belched out by cruise ships), and now air from helicopters.

“At first, I thought the cops were looking for someone who committed a crime,” she said. “But these are much more ubiquitous.”

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