Citizens Group Goes to Court to Shut Down Manhattan Heliport

JUNE 13, 1997

The Daily News (News, page 38) reports that the Helicopter Noise Coalition of New York City filed papers in the Manhatten Supreme Court yesterday seeking to shut down Manhatten's E. 34th St. heliport, run by National Helicopter Corp., charging that the city has allowed it to operate illegally for years.

According to the article, the coalition says the National Helicopter Corp. ran the heliport for two decades without a proper permit. Last month, the Giuliani administration tried to evict the carrier for an alleged failure to pay $700,000 in back rent, but the company blocked the eviction after filing for federal bankruptcy protection.

City officials have said that their attempted eviction was part of a plan to eliminate tourist helicopter service over Manhattan and cut helicopter flights by 40%. Officials also plan to close a heliport at E. 60th St., and want to turn the E. 34th St. heliport over to a company that does not operate tourist flights. But Jack Lester, an attorney for the coalition, said the group wants the E. 34th St. heliport closed for good.

The article says that East Side residents and businesses have complained about the noise and air pollution from the heliport for years. The heliport opened in 1971, and National operates more than 50,000 flights annually. Joy Held, president of the coalition said the heliport "constitutes a nuisance that people cannot live with." In addition, there is a safety issue because several high-rise apartment buildings have been constructed near the heliport, the article reports.