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To the Editor:
As a resident of West 83rd Street, I can tell you that we actually receive a double-whammy from helicopters (“They’ve Had It with Helicopters,” Dec. 18). Not only do the tourist helicopters come inland on 83rd Street in order to turn to go back down the river, but we are also the cross-island corridor for commuter helicopters. This means that on most days, we deal with helicopter noise every four minutes—non-stop from early morning until mid-evening. Add to this the occasional news or traffic helicopter reporting from the West Side Highway, and it adds up to a recipe for something akin to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Between May 2004 and July 2007, there were at least five helicopter crashes in New York City, including an NBC news chopper, a commuter helicopter and three tourist helicopters. Two of these occurred within days of each other in 2007. Thankfully, there were no deaths, though there were numerous injuries. (There was at least one tourist airplane crash during this period that had fatalities.)
Setting aside that the revenue derived by the city from the tourist helicopter industry is miniscule, the question must be asked: Will it take the death of one or more people—either in a helicopter or on the ground—before the city takes this issue seriously?

Rev. Ian Alterman
Upper West Side

Letters have been edited for clarity, style and brevity.


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