Do you think helicopters are ruining New York City? We're not sure, but we definitely know the NYC helicopter epidemic is spreading.
In August, we reported on Gotham Air, a helicopter service that provides on-demand helicopter service in Manhattan in under 20 minutes. In September, we reported on another on-demand helicopter service, Blade, which will bring you anywhere around the city for between $99 and $219.
Then, the kicker: Just a few weeks ago, word spread that Uber would time up with a company called Airbus to provide on-demand helicopter trips with UberChopper.
So, yeah, like we said, there are more helicopters in NYC than ever.
So much so that an opinion published by Richard Perry in The New York Times claims that the $2 billion NYC has invested in new waterfront parks is all for naught with the invasion of noisy, polluting helicopters.
Perry says relaxation in the sun on the piers in Hudson River Park is obliterated by the helicopters flying up and down the Hudson.
"Just as the noise from one chopper fades away, a new one approaches, and it feels as if we're trapped in a landing zone on a military base," Perry wrote.
The experience of assault-by-helicopter-noise is not limited to Hudson River Park. Every day, two million people stand below while helicopters roar overhead.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation estimates that in 2014, there were more than 56,085 sightseeing helicopter trips in NYC. They all took off from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport.
This statistic doesn't include helicopters deployed for the purposes of police or hospitals, or even private businesses and leisure charters.
In 2014, there were only 1,936 non-tourist helicopter flights in NYC, compared with the 56,085 tourist flights. Obviously, there were many more tourist flights.
It's true that helicopters have been found to emit smog-forming gases, elevated levels of formaldehyde, and other cancer-causing toxic emissions.
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What's worse is that workers at 55 Water Street, a building located right beside the Downtown Heliport, have filed more than 1,200 complaints of headaches, nausea, and respiratory irritation caused by helicopter exhaust in their building's ventilation system.
The Economic Development Corporation found that the helicopter industry brings in $3 million a year for the city. The food stands in Central Park earn more money for the city than the tourist helicopters. The private companies who operate the tourist fleet earn much, much more.
We do admit that riding in a helicopter is probably exhilarating, and that in a free market economy, it's nice for the helicopter companies to be unrestricted.
However, when an industry is disturbing the health and wellness of millions of NYC citizens, it's time to get in and take a look about whether our jeopardizing our health is the amount of money any number of helicopters buzzing about the city bring.
Our unscientific conclusion? It isn't worth it.
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