The noise over Park Slope was not all in your head!

The Brooklyn Paper
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Park Slopers who are convinced that the skies over their neighborhood have become a highway for noisy airplanes are actually right, new data shows.

Since 2006, low-altitude traffic over the Slope has increased by 52 percent, according to Federal Aviation Administration documents obtained by one local anti-noise activist.

The FAA has long said it is focused on landing aircraft in the most-efficient way possible, but locals are desperate to know why their neighborhood has been singled out.

“Even inside my house, with doors and windows closed, I still wear earplugs,” said Josie Williams, who bought a $600 sound meter. “I play loud music in the house or otherwise I’ll go insane.”

Williams’s decibel contraption records the aircraft noise at Prospect Park West and Fifth Street. Her readings show that the noise level exceeds 70 decibels on a daily basis — the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner or noisy traffic, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Her fellow noise activist, Jeffery Starin, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FAA for flight data in Brooklyn over the last four years.

The data revealed that airplanes aren’t the only craft passing right over the neighborhood. Helicopters also have a flight path that slices directly over Park Slope and Prospect Park, according to Starin, himself a private pilot.

“There is not a lot of oversight of the FAA because of how technical it is — they pull the wool over people’s eyes. But I’m a pilot, they can’t do that to me.”

Starin said that the drastic change in air traffic is a result of the “airspace redesign” initiated by the FAA in 2007 as a way to alleviate the chronic delays at LaGuardia and other airports.

Planes bound for LaGuardia that once arrived in what Starin described as a “fan pattern” now are consolidated into one corridor stretching from Bay Ridge, through Park Slope, and then to the Long Island Expressway.

Indeed, the air traffic monitoring site, Passur, confirms that roughly every couple of minutes airplanes are using the same flight path that passes over the Slope.

A call to representatives of the FAA’s northeast branch was not returned on Wednesday, though a possible excuse was the blizzard.

Updated 5:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Nick from Park Slope says:
C'mon, really? Yes, there's an increase in air traffic over the neighborhood, but the noise is barely noticeable and hardly a problem. I have a feeling Josie Williams' loud music is more of a nuisance than anything flying overhead.
Feb. 11, 2010, 3:29 pm
Grace from Rockaway says:
i live in rockaway, and planes fly low into jfk directly over my house *all* *the* *time*. i've also spent a LOT of time in prospect park, and have never once even noticed a place going overhead. if Ms. Williams is so worried about noise perhaps she should move to the suburbs. but i suppose then it wouldn't have the same cache as a park slope address...
Feb. 11, 2010, 4:06 pm
troy from williamsburg says:
Aircraft noise has been proven to increase blood pressure and cause hypertension, even while you sleep. See this EU funded long-term study . It is a serious problem, and FAA already spends TONS of money on noise studies. They tend to direct funds to people who complain the most. I've worked in aircraft noise research for three years.
Feb. 12, 2010, 9:15 am
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
Here's a noise that you all understand.
If airplanes aren't over you neighborhood, they will be over someone else's. Until they relocate La Guardia to Mars, plane will over fly this end of Long Island forever.
Stop whining, and sounding like a low-flying plane for xsakes.
Feb. 13, 2010, 12:19 am
Jim Williams from Park Slope says:
The actual data, provided under the Freedom of Information Act, that bears this out can be seen on the web site at:
March 3, 2010, 2:19 pm
Jim Williams from Park Slope says:
The increase in traffic over Park Slope is very easy to explain.

Senator Dodd of CT--responding to his constituents complaints about the air traffic over them--threatened to cut off funding to the FAA until they did something to relieve the noise.

What the FAA did is to reroute traffic that used to fly up the Hudson River to Runway 22--and over CT--and diverted that traffic to Runways 4 and 31 over Brooklyn. Data shows that traffic decreased from Runway 22 from 54% to less than 10%.
March 3, 2010, 2:25 pm
Stu from Windsor Terrace says:
Thanks, Park Slope. I didn't notice the planes until you started whining about it.
April 6, 2010, 4:11 pm
Phyllis Pastuzyn from Woodside, Queens says:
Sorry, I misspelled "their"
July 26, 2010, 7:18 pm
Ted from Queens says:
This place can just suck the life out of you,between the smells,litter,parking,ticket Nazis and then the noise from the planes is just brutal,and apparently "Nick" from Park Slope is deaf and a prick.
Oct. 3, 2011, 8:24 pm
sammy from bensonhurst says:
well suddenly I see the planes more closeley, and I here them as well. they are annoying, there has to be a better way for these planes to fly without bothering all the neighborhoods.
Feb. 7, 2012, 8:34 pm
David from Prospect Heights says:
Huge increase in noise pollution above Franklin and Classon over the past week. There's a plane overhead now every 3-5 minutes. Any ideas on how to make my voice heard above the din?
June 1, 2012, 9:36 am
minnie from ps says:
the planes flying over park slope are horriffic, they are every 30 seconds all day long.
prospect park is a nightmare.

something needs to be done about these flight patterns the planes are flying too low, and we are breathing in this jet fuel.

give me a break every 30 freaking seconds all day lond
Oct. 1, 2012, 12:43 pm
omar from sunset park says:
the air traffic in Brooklyn has become a nightmare, totally unfair to all the residents that have to listen to low flying airplanes flying every 30 seconed all day long.

we are breathing in about 1440 airplances in a 12 hour period of jet fuel.
we are all going to die if cancer because of this
Nov. 8, 2012, 11:30 am
the main man from all over says:
are you people effin kidding me. I am sitting here typing this and planes are flying every mutha fukkin 30 seconds apart, i hear them thru double pane glass.
there goes another one. every mutha fukka 30 seconds.

gimme a break, some one h=needs to do something already.

we never had planes here in bensonhurst before, wtf is going on....every 10 minutes one can handel, but every 30 ——ing seconds, give me a breAK
Nov. 15, 2012, 9:46 pm
Who are these people that cannot hear these palnes. ther are flying extra low these days, whats the purpose of that.

the elected officials should be concerned about the residents of brooklyn and not the airports.
Nov. 15, 2012, 9:48 pm
Alix from Fort Greene says:
Every 30 seconds in Fort Greene also. I guess that when enough people move out the officials might listen. I will certainly move from here because of airplane noise.
Dec. 29, 2012, 6:03 pm
Leon M from Bensonhurst says:
It is awful that the FAA changed flight paths and didn't tell anyone. Now poof, we all have to suffer as if by divine right the FAA can rule where they fly.

What about all the tax paying citizens that bought home away from airports, and are NOW forced to have to hear a plane roar by every 30 seconds. I hear a constant roar out my windows, it is becoming a nightmare.
March 29, 2013, 9:20 pm
Jetman from Palo Alto, CA says:
The "NextGen" CDA which has aircraft approaching the airport with their engines at idle, should never have been implemented without an environmental impact report. As bad as the noise is... the pollution may be worse.

A study published in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Journal, and conducted by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University found:

"When the jet operated at full power the emissions were composed of mainly solid particles, however when it idled on the runway they took on a different form – microscopic droplets. The magnitude and composition of these emissions strongly depend on engine load, with much higher emissions at low engine loads, the study said. However when the exhaust was exposed to sunlight in a smog-chamber a chemical reaction took place that saw the formation of toxic particles from the interaction between the oil and gases. It was found that sunlight can generate 35 times more particles than were originally emitted from the jet's engine and 10 times what had typically been predicted. These particles can include compounds such as benzene and toluene, which are known to impact health."

An article, including a link to the study, can be found here:
Jan. 24, 2014, 2:09 pm
John Feddersen from Park Slope says:
Aircraft landing at Laguardia are typically at 2700 feet over Bay Ridge and desending to 1700 at Park Slope. In desent configuration they are well powered back. I barely hear them. However the helicopter route from downtown Manhattan to Kennedy goes directly over Park Slope at 500 feet and they are louder because they are at higher cruise power settings and helicopter blades are by desgn louder. Having said that they both are nothing compared to some moron on a Harley Davidson without a working muffler reving the engine at a red light. You have 3 major airports, 2 of which are in City limits. Would you prefer driving 1 1/2 outside the city to catch a plane as an alternative? I'm not seeing the big problem here,
Sept. 16, 2014, 3:22 am
Adrastos from Bath Beach says:
It's 2014 and still nothing is being done about this.
We are all told to just suck it up, this is the city, deal with it.
NYC and all its boroughs have about zero quality of life.
No one cares about the residents, it's all about making money.
Sickening, that's what it really is, sickening.
Sept. 18, 2014, 12:39 pm
Donna Santiago from Park Slope Bklyn says:
Air plane noise is making me crazy. I've lived in this neighborhood for over 40 years and it was never a problem now I can't go anywhere in the area without hearing planes fly over my head. It's affected my health. Something must be done
April 29, 2016, 12:45 pm
Tiffany from Dyker Heights, Brooklyn says:
This is really horrible. It's so loud I can't even hear myself think and my house shakes every seconds. My ears are ringing constantly. Can we file some sort of complaint somewhere?
Oct. 2, 2016, 8:45 pm

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