East Hills residents bombard Port Authority with airplane noise complaints

Planes fly over Canterbury Lane in Roslyn on Planes fly over Canterbury Lane in Roslyn on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

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When airplanes fly over East Hills, indoor conversations are put on hold and television signals go on the fritz. Late at night, residents are often jarred awake by a loud rumbling.

On Canterbury Lane, homeowners are particularly peeved.

Fed up with an increase of commercial aircraft coming in for landings at Kennedy Airport, they've flooded the Port Authority with complaints -- 1,315 between June 2012 and this past January.

The block with less than 20 homes -- about 12 miles from the airport -- generated more airplane noise complaints over that period than any other street in the New York metropolitan area, according to the authority.

Planes flying overhead come close enough for residents to identify them.

"There have been times I've called up the Port Authority to tell them the plane's number," said Ellen Greenfield, 74, who has lived on the street with her husband for more than four decades.

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Greenfield and her neighbors are making their own noise in the form of angry calls, emails and petitions in hopes of persuading the Federal Aviation Administration to alter the two flight paths that pass over East Hills, Floral Park, Garden City and other communities in Nassau and Queens.

Fueling the angst is an 11 percent increase in air traffic between 2012 and 2013 that uses the two Kennedy runways -- 22L and 22R -- that serve the flight paths.

More than 67,000 planes landed at those runways in 2012, but last year there were 74,379, according to the authority, which manages the airport.

During the same period, nighttime air traffic increased by 39 percent -- from 9,056 planes to 12,626.

One out of every three planes arriving at Kennedy in the last two years landed on 22L or 22R. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., those runways were used about 26 percent of the time to land planes, the authority said.

Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico said there were "significant" repairs, inspections and surveys done on one of Kennedy's four runways, and that may have forced airlines to rely on 22L and 22R more last year.

The FAA "determines runway usage based on availability, wind direction and weather conditions," the agency said in an email. "The FAA works with the Port Authority to change runways at least every eight hours to reduce the noise for communities . . . under the flight paths."

Greenfield said several meetings were held at Village Hall in the last year to discuss what to do about aircraft noise, but insisted there's no coordinated effort on Canterbury Lane to bombard the Port Authority with complaints.

"This block is made up of incredible, civic-minded human beings," she said.

On Aug. 20, 2013, for example, Canterbury Lane residents filed 64 complaints. One was submitted every minute between 6 and 6:20 a.m., records show.

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An irate resident who asked not to be identified said he's lodged "hundreds" of airplane noise complaints since his family moved to the block three years ago.

A complaint he filed last Nov. 30 had these comments: "Enough!!!! Are you even looking into these complaints? Soooooo loud and low."

Another resident, Georgia Oyegun, 57, said the noise can be deafening outside during the day and aggravating at bedtime.

"The nighttimes are worst," she said.

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