‘It’s an assault’ B’ Heights resident outraged at ‘endless’ helicopter noise

Brooklyn Heights resident Roberto Gautier is fed up with noisy choppers swarming above the Promenade.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

They’ve had it way up to there!

Helicopter traffic over Brooklyn Heights has transformed life in one of Kings County’s bougiest nabes into a waking nightmare, according to locals, who say they feel besieged by the unending racket caused by the low-flying copters.

“If you ever go on the Brooklyn Promenade, you just hear them going back and forth,” said Roberto Gautier. “It’s an assault.”

Brooklyn Heights is part of the Kings County fly-over route for helicopters taking off from Lower Manhattan on sightseeing tours and raucous trips to LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports in Queens, which have grown more frequent in the wake of the lux helicopter service that ride-share company Uber began offering earlier this month.

And while locals say they’re fine with law enforcement and emergency services buzzing overhead, the plague of high-flying fat cats roaming the skies has got to stop, according to one area park steward.

“If the police have a reason to be here, that’s fine, but it seems like it’s sightseers — it’s so constant,” said Tova Potosky, president of the Cadman Park Conservancy.

In an effort to stymie the awful racket, residents have extended their gripes to the Brooklyn Heights Civic Association, which in turn has extended its support to an upcoming bill sponsored by three Kings County Congress members to outlaw “non-essential” helicopter flights above the city’s airspace.

“It’s been bothering residents and visitors to this neighborhood for years,” said the Brooklyn Heights Association’s executive director Lara Birnback. “You’re really disturbed by what seems like endless helicopter noise.”

The bill, spearheaded by representatives Carolyn Maloney (D–Greenpoint), Nydia Velazquez (D–Williamsburg), and Jerrold Nadler (D–Red Hook), will ban most civilian flights while still allowing trips in the public interest, according to Danielle Sumner, a staffer for Maloney.

Under the law, there will be a citywide ban on tourism helicopters, chartered helicopters for commuting or executive travel, and private helicopters.

The ban would also outlaw Uber’s sky taxi, which shuttles passengers from Manhattan to JFK Airport at upwards of $200 a pop, or the company Blade, which flies from the Big Apple to airports and the Hamptons.

Exempt from the legislation are flights for government, military, law enforcement, infrastructure maintenance, emergency or disaster response, research and, most importantly, the news — preserving Brooklyn Paper’s dreams of someday covering Kings County from the skies!

The legislators planned to introduce the bill at a presser on Oct. 7, but had to put the event on hold last-minute after Maloney fainted at a vigil earlier that day and had to be hospitalized.

A spokeswoman for Uber said it’s helicopter service was never intended to be permanent, and that the true mission of Uber Air is to generate data useful to the planned futuristic sky car of tomorrow!

“Copter is also meant to be short term, generating operational and technology learnings for Uber Air which will offer pooled rides on quieter all electric, zero emission eVTOLs,” said Uber spokeswoman Susan Hendrick.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.

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