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Schumer agrees to meet with groups seeking to quell jet noise

FILE: Airplanes on the runway of Kennedy Airport,

FILE: Airplanes on the runway of Kennedy Airport, as a boater passes by on the waters of Head Of Bay in Queens, on Aug. 13, 2012. Credit: Uli Seit

A coalition of civic groups working to curb air traffic over their homes, schools, parks and places of worship got what it wanted Thursday hours after members hand-delivered a batch of petitions to the office of Sen. Charles Schumer: a chance to meet with him face-to-face.

Community and religious leaders, including those from Port Washington, East Williston and New York City, had complained that Schumer (D-N.Y.) hadn't met with them to find solutions to the constant barrage of noise generated by airplanes flying above at all hours.

Schumer was upstate when the nine representatives dropped off the petitions at his midtown Manhattan office, said a spokeswoman, Meredith Kelly.

"Senator Schumer would be happy to meet with the group that put together this petition," although no date has been set, Kelly said.

Noise complaints from residents living near Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in Queens and under the flight paths have become louder in recent years since the Federal Aviation Administration, which controls air traffic, began redesigning the airspace over New York City to reduce conflicts among planes and prepare for the arrival of the NextGen satellite-based air-traffic control system. That system will allow planes to fly closer together and chart more direct routes to their destinations.

The move rerouted traffic and increased the volume on certain runways, such as 22L at JFK, which brings airplanes over Nassau. The number of nighttime flights on 22L increased 36 percent from 2012 to 2013.

Sidney Krimsky, 78, a retired engineer from West Hempstead, could have sent his petition via email or snail mail, but chose to take the 50-minute train ride to Penn Station, then walked across town to Schumer's East Side office.

"When people show up it means they are serious," said Krimsky, of Plane Sense for LI.

Krimsky would also like to know why planes arriving at JFK fly from the South Shore in Long Beach, to north to the middle of the island, then west across Nassau in order to land.

Other petitioners, including the Chinese Christine Herald Crusade, the Hindu Temple Society of North America, and Kissena Corridor Park Conservancy, all of Flushing, are asking Schumer to help find a solution to what they describe as an unbearable living condition.

"Even when it's 1 a.m. in the morning with calm winds, wide open space, and low airport efficiency demands, Nassau County is still being crop-dusted by low-flying jumbo jets," according to a letter submitted by Michael Saraceno, who lives in Williston Park, about 10 miles from Kennedy Airport.

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