Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics



  • Apocalypse Now: Can Eric Adams End the Helicopter Onslaught?

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    Central Park, from doors-off helicopter flight (photo: Julia Vitullo-Martin, the author)

    Thanksgiving! “One of NYC’s most beloved days of the year,” announces notorious doors-off helicopter company, FLYNYON, advertising its $489 seats over Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer immediately responded by contacting the Federal Aviation

  • The View from Above and Below: The Helicopters and Our Commons

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    Helicopter in flight (photo: Julia Vitullo-Martin)

    Like many of my neighbors on the Upper West Side I profoundly dislike and resent the tour helicopters that seem to unceasingly harass us on beautiful days, lining up equidistantly over the Hudson as if they were jets ready to land at JFK. Only they don’t land. They tremble and hover and circle stridently.

    Still, I recognize that there are those who love them because the tour helis fly constantly and, apparently, full.

    I decided to see for myself.

    I booked directly with ...

  • Save Our Waterfronts from Our Open Skies: New York & New Jersey

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    Manhattan from a helicopter (photo: Julia Vitullo-Martin, the author)

    “I care passionately about our waterfront,” says Hoboken City Council Member Phil Cohen. “It’s the jewel of Hoboken, directly across from the Empire State Building. We fought so long and hard to get our world-class waterfront, endured epic battles, and now we have helicopters constantly buzzing us in our own park. Somehow the helicopters are always there.” 

    That’s because the most ...

  • Can the Manhattan Borough President Stop the Chop?

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    Helicoptering over the city (photo: Julia Vitullo-Martin)

    Thanks to an onslaught of out-of-town tourist helicopters and small planes flying over New York landmarks, a quiet weekend day in Central Park or Governors Island or the Brooklyn waterfront has become a thing of the past. Any revered site from the Noguchi Museum in Queens to Liberty Island south of the Battery is now subject to inundation by 85 to 95 flights starting at dawn on Saturdays and finishing at unpredictable hours, with some flying as late as midnight Sunday. And while helicopters in the old days tried to

  • New York City's Noisy, Dangerous, Open Skies


    FlyNYON open door flight (photo: Michelle Young, Untapped New York)

    For New Yorkers living below the flight paths of what helicopter companies consider to be photogenic or interesting neighborhoods, Labor Day weekend was sheer hell. And, ironically, very few of those noisy, polluting, low-flying helicopters flew from New York-based heliports.

    Our New York City skies are being colonized by New Jersey. When I was writing a story on

  • New York’s Wrongly Open Skies

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    helicopters in Manhattan (photo: Julia Vitullo-Martin)

    Helicopter crashes in the skies of New York City — two in 2019 —temporarily bring renewed attention to the odd situation by which hundreds of vehicles weighing up to 12,000 pounds each fly low every day over the country’s densest city, a city that was attacked from the air in 2001.

    Precisely how many flights there are, by whom, and for what purpose are secrets kept by New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, which oversees three heliports on behalf of their owner, New York City.

    Manhattan Borough