A helicopter tour of Manhattan is a must-do activity for many visitors to New York City. But residents who live along the Hudson River, which runs between New Jersey and the most scenic parts of the city, are renewing their decades-long attempt to bring a halt to such tours. Citing noise from low-flying helicopters as reducing their quality of life, citizens who live and work near the Hudson are receiving support for banning such operations from a variety of officials and politicians, including U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey.
"There's simply too much helicopter traffic and not enough oversight," said Menendez during a meeting with waterfront residents in Hoboken that was repeatedly interrupted by the sounds of passing helicopters. "Since the industry has been unresponsive and the governmental agencies don't seem to have the wherewithal to get this done, we will."
Each year, tourist help pump millions of dollars into the New York and New Jersey economies in order to see views like this one taken along the Hudson River just west of Lower Manhattan. Area residents, however, want helicopter tours to cease, citing near-constant noise on both shorelines. Photo by Ernie Stephens
Jeff Smith, the vice president of the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council, cited a study his organization commissioned that shows the helicopter tourism industry generates in excess of $33 million in economic activity each year, while supporting hundreds of local job.
"Our helicopter owners remain committed to working collaboratively with local officials to find reasonable solution that don't strip New York and New Jersey of hundreds of jobs, millions of dollars in revenue, and vital emergency response services," said Smith in a formal statement.
Menendez told meeting attendees that if New York City officials who oversee the city's heliports, and the operators who fly out of them, do not rectify the situation, he will push for legislation banning helicopter tours in the area altogether.