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Helicopter noise decried at Brooklyn rally

Helicopter noise is causing a ruckus in Red Hook, Brooklyn Heights, downtown Manhattan and other neighborhoods, residents and politicians said at a rally Sunday.

The group advocated for the prohibition of all tourist flights from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, which is at Pier 6, south of the South Street Seaport.

"Addressing helicopter traffic is not only a quality-of-life issue for Brooklyn residents, it is a public safety matter for those in the sky and on the ground," said Rep. Nydia Velazquez, a Democrat whose district includes Red Hook and Brooklyn Heights.

Residents at the rally in Brooklyn Bridge Park charged that flight companies are violating an agreement reached last year not to fly tourists over Brooklyn or up the East River.

Now residents want the city Economic Development Corp., which oversees the heliport, to enforce a ban on all tourist flights. Calls to the nonprofit corporation for comment were not returned.

Residents say the problem was exacerbated last year, when tourist flights at the West 30th Street Heliport were stopped following a quality-of-life lawsuit. That prompted tourists who wanted aerial tours of the skyline to book trips downtown, the only remaining location offering sightseeing trips in Manhattan.

"My office is inundated with calls about the huge disturbance this is causing in the everyday lives of many of my constituents," said Councilwoman Sara M. Gonzalez, a Democrat who represents the Brooklyn waterfront.

-- Sheila Anne Feeney

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