Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy of NJ, Inc.
P. O. BOX 6217
Hoboken, NJ 0703
The Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy (HRWC) established pursuant to NJAC7:7E-3.48 represents the interests of residents and users along the New Jersey side of the Hudson River and Upper New York Bay from Bayonne to Ft. Lee, encompassing 9 municipalities with a population of over half a million. Our mandate is to further the use and enjoyment of the Hudson River waterfront, in general, and to monitor use and development of and affecting the Hudson River Walkway, in particular.
The Walkway is an important element to the economy of the nine Hudson River communities, which attracts development, business, particularly restaurants, hotels and retail establishments, and recreational uses. It has been an important magnet for tourism to the New Jersey side of the Hudson River as people take ferries and trains to the Waterfront to enjoy its parks, restaurants and shopping. In fact, the HTWC conducts regular walking tours along the Walkway as part of its fund raising efforts.
The rapid growth of sightseeing helicopter tours originating from Manhattan, with New York enjoying 99.99% of its benefits, has had significant negative impacts on the economy, health and quality of life of New Jersey residents and businesses. Foremost of the impacts come from noise and air pollution.
There have been over 100,000 sightseeing helicopter trips per year, and growing. These trips are concentrated during the 10 daylight hours. Excluding days of inclement weather, this translates to a helicopter trip averaging every 40 seconds, and during peak times reaching every 20 seconds.
There have been multiple studies, across countries, evaluating the effects of aircraft noise on children. The unified result is a direct linear link between chronic aircraft noise exposure and reading comprehension, conceptual recall memory, and recognition memory. Cognitive ability, in turn, predicts a broad spectrum of important life outcomes, behaviors and performance, such as: academic achievement; health-related behaviors; social outcomes; job performance and general creativity.
These helicopters are allowed to fly as low as 900' along the New Jersey side of the Hudson River (although along the New York side they are limited to 1500' due to lobbying by interests in New York City) The noise levels in New Jersey often exceeds a disturbingly 85 decibels, causing normal conversations to cease for 15 seconds when helicopters pass by. The effects of this noise level, duration and frequency has had a deleterious effect on:
- New Jersey businesses trying to serve an al fresco clientele (there are over 100 such establishments on the Waterfront and several thousand within 1,000' of the Waterfront)
- Schools and daycare centers of which there are over 50 within this zone. Health of over 50,000 students are affected. During outdoor recesses, teachers have to pause in their instructions and directions;
- Hospitals and health facilities of which there are over a dozen within this 1,000' zone
- Over 100,000 residents live within this zone who must halt their outdoor conversation (particularly the use and enjoyment on their porches and patios) as the helicopters pass by not to mention impacts on their health from the frequent noise.
HRWC's own fundraising walking tours suffer the frequent interruption of our narratives as helicpters pass by.
It should be noted that the Mayor of New York recognizes these impacts in his support of the ban New York has imposed on tourist helicopter flights up the East River up which would affect the Mayor's residence at Gracie Mansion. He has determined that it is OK to buzz New Jersey residents on the Hudson but not the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens residence along the East River.
Furthermore, lack of TSA oversight and failure to enforce any meaningful security measures, creates both local and national terrorist security concerns as these flights traverse the densely populated and utilized waterfront. As far as safety is concerned, there have been 5 crashes of New York sightseeing helicopters 17 years, more than one every other year-- an atrocious aviation safety record.
Finally, the numerous bald eagle sightings along the Hudson River in the last several years means that their rookeries also exist along the Hudson River. The Act prohibits activities which disturb the nesting areas of these birds. The intense noise from these low flying helicopters disturbs their nests, interfering with their reproductive processes in violation of the Federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
For all of these reasons, we urge that:
1- NJ adopt the provisions of Assembly Bill A-4310 which will prevent such sightseeing helicopters from using NJ facilities;
2- The NJ Department of Transportation take all necessary measures to ban the use of sightseeing helicopter flights from using landing facilities under the Department's control;
3- The US Department of Interior ban sightseeing helicopter flights along the Hudson River pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act; and
4- The US Environmental Protection Agency take action to enforce the National Environmental Protection Act and cause FAA to revoke all licenses, permits and actions in connection with sightseeing helicopter flights along the Hudson River until an Environmental Impact Statement is conducted pursuant to.
5- New York City adopt the provisions of Bills Numbers 859 and 858 currently before the New York City Council which would basically eliminate these sightseeing helicopters from in Manhattan.
HUDSON RIVER WATERFRONT CONSERVANCY
by: signed by D E Stitzenberg 12-18-15
Don Stitzenberg, President