Admist Crashes and Surge of Flights, Questions Arise to Eliminating or Moving 30th Street Heliport

As more wealthy people move into new luxury housing on the west side of Chelsea, one can’t ignore that the situation at the 30th Street Heliport is only going to get worse. According to a NYTimes Aug 2nd article titled “Hailing a Helicopter to Beat the Traffic,” many are not only using the heliports air transportation for eight minute flights to Kennedy Airport ($199), they are also using its service to go the Hamptons in eastern Long Island in much more frequence.

The May 15th helicopter crash, just feet from park users, and the June 10th crash of a helicopter into a midtown office building, has once again brought up the question of why a heliport exists so close to the Hudson River Park. James Boyd, who attended CWPA‘s annual meeting in May, reports his analysis below:

“There may be reasons to use helicopters, but there is no legitimate reason for the Heliport to be in a public park on the Hudson River Greenway, the most heavily used bike and pedestrian path in the United States." Writes Boyd.

"This below document chronicles 20 years of New Yorkers’ efforts to Close the HRPT/VIP Pegasus and Blade W. 30th Street Heliport. New Yorkers came very close to closing the Heliport in 2007 when citizen plaintiffs won a New York State Supreme Court Settlement against the Hudson River Park Trust and VIP Pegasus mandating full closure by 2014.The Hudson River Park Trust has kept the VIP Heliport in operation. Tourist flights havebeen banned. Private ‘Air Taxi’ flights are increasing. The parking lot is filled with idling Escalades. Community Boards, Block Associations, Electeds, and New Yorkers have objected to the HRPT Heliport as a ‘Quality of Life ‘ and ‘Public Nuisance’. 

So it is, but those valid arguments have been effectively stonewalled by obscure interests. There may be new compelling reasons that can move those ‘interests’ to close the HRPT Heliport now.- Safety and Terrorism.- Increasing Public awareness of our environmental crisis and pollution’s effect.

- Problems with NYC transportation and the effects of widening Income Inequality.

- A reported surge in progressive activism with effective social media. 

-Although the FAA and The State of New York nominally have jurisdiction over the HRPT Heliport, New Yorkers can overcome Heliport regulatory issues by taking the issue back to The New York Supreme Court as as they did in 2007.

1. FAQThe FAA:-Public ownership of the two other Manhattan heliports allows the city to implement limitsand regulations through heliport leases, since working through FAA channels can betime-consuming and futile.The FAA has been cited as an example of regulatory capture, 

"in which the airlineindustry openly dictates to its regulators its governing rules, arranging for not onlybeneficial regulation, but placing key people to head these regulators.

"In a June 2010 article on regulatory capture, the FAA was cited as an example of"old-style" regulatory capture, "in which the airline industry openly dictates to itsregulators its governing rules, arranging for not only beneficial regulation but placing keypeople to head these regulators. "The Government's Elite and Regulatory Capture" TheNew York Times (June 11, 2010).There are 3 Heliports in Manhattan:1. E. 34th Street Heliport.8-8pm. Closed Weekends. No Fuel. Run by the New York City Economic Development Corporation. No Tourist flights. 

Est 1972.2. Downtown Manhattan/Wall Street Heliport. 7-10pm.Tourist Flights. Run by theNYCEDC. 

Est. 1960.3. W.30TH ST HRPT/PEGASUS VIP HELIPORT and BLADE Helicopter service. Open24/7. Re-fueling available from 8,000 Gal Jet Fuel tank. No tourist Flights. Est. 1956Called the “Air Pegasus VIP Heliport”. Operated by Air Pegasus Inc. and Blade ( Blade is anUber-like 'Flight upon request' business.

From: operations: avg 40/day *85% air taxi14% transient general aviation<1% Military/Medical Emergency/Police• for 12-month period ending 07 September 2017. (14,500 flights/yr)North and South Finger Piers are Closed”Re-fueling available 24/7 from 8,000 Gallon tank of JETA+ Fuel.-Public ownership of the two other Manhattan heliports allows the city to implement limitsand regulations through heliport leases, since working through FAA channels can betime-consuming and cumbersome. The West 30th Street Heliport is owned by theHudson River Park Trust and its Heliport:-HRPT Board of Directors allows the Public to attend Board meetings, but Chair Diana Taylor announces at the beginning of each Board meeting* ‘questions and comments from the Public are not entertained’. According to HRPT Council Christine Fazio, thereare no other public forums during which the Board will entertain questions and comments from the Public. 

* as per HRPT website minutes and videos of Boardmeetings.HRPT CODE OF ETHICS“Directors and employees shall perform their duties with transparency.”Typical Helicopter emissions: From: http://www.emissieregistratie.nl113 lbs of ghg* per passenger per 62 miles.It is 4 miles from Battery Park to W.30th St Heliport.At 2 lbs ghg per mile = 8 lbs per passenger emitted in that 4 mile trip. With 6passengers including 2 pilots = 48 lbs ghg per flight from BPC to W.30th St.*ghg: greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, etc Lead was long ago phased out of automobile gasoline, but it is still in aviation fueland is now the largest source of lead emissions in the U.S.Nearly 200,000 airplanes and helicopters in the U.S. continue to fly on fuel containing lead Approx. 6,840,000 lbs of toxins /yr (18,739 lbs/day) from Helicopters over the length ofManhattan. Each Airbus AS350 helicopter produces 950 lb of carbon dioxide an hour, more than 43times what a car produces. “For those living and working nearby, that’s like 42 cars idlingoutside your window, when only one aircraft is on deck at the heliport.” - Adrian Benepe. 

Michael Bloomberg’s six-seat chopper burns 72 gallons of fuel every hour.



Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen Sitting
Pretty at Top of Hudson River Park
Composting Heap

It takes a monumental commitment for people to separate food scraps, pack them up, and drop them off in the Hudson River Park composting collection bins — and that’s precisely what residents of Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen did better than their counterparts in the areas of Battery Park, Tribeca, the West Village, Greenwich Village, and the Meatpacking District. This accomplishment and so many more were celebrated at May 9’s annual meeting of the Chelsea Waterside Park Association (CWPA), held at Chelsea’s German Lutheran Church of St. Paul.

During the first year of the composting program, initiated by the Hudson River Park Trust, Chelsea processed 4,712 pounds, only outdone by the bin at Pier 84’s dog run (at W. 44th St.), which netted 5,797 pounds. And although Gristedes and Western Beef anchor Chelsea’s West Side, it is the shoppers at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s who are composting champions, as reported by HRPT via Peter Kelly, Assistant Director of Horticulture.
Kelly often gets his green thumbs smeared with muck while emptying the bags. “During the process, we separate the bags from the scraps. Paper bags are ripped up before joining the scraps, so they won’t jam the machine’s augers,” Kelly said, adding, “Please don’t use the small composting eco-green bags, as they also get caught in the augers and are a pain.”

It is a testament to the work of NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson that his district of Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen would be leading the composting charge. It was he who kicked off the inaugural campaign last year with a free Composting 101 workshop. If you missed that educational opportunity, there is good news, as Anna Koskol, HRPT’s Environmental Educator, informed those at the May 9 gathering. “If you want to learn about composting,” she said, “please join us on Wednesday, May 23 at Pier 66 for our second annual workshop.”

Also celebrated at the meeting was Robert Trentlyon, 88, founding president of CWPA. He was presented with a letter of lifetime achievement from NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. “Robert Trentlyon had the opportunity to bring his ideas to fruition as a member of the task force formed in 1986, to make recommendations for replacement of the unrealized Westway plan,” Cuomo wrote. “For decades, he has been devoted to bettering the quality of life in Chelsea and making it one of the most beautiful areas of Manhattan.”

For those of us who revel in the blooming of daffodils each spring, New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P) was present at the meeting. Their “Daffodil Project” has donated thousands of bulbs to Chelsea Waterside Park, and over seven million bulbs to green spaces across the five boroughs. Joked NY4P Executive Director Lynn Kelly, “I often say

that a daffodil is the gateway drug for us to get communities involved. Who doesn’t love planting a bulb and seeing a daffodil the next year?”

As an over 100-year-old independent organization, NY4P gathers data and research and then uses that information for green space advocacy. Kelly spoke of their website (, which contains a trove of maps and data on green spaces for each NYC Council District. At a quick glance, our District 3 only has one park per 1,000 residents — compared with 2.9 parks in districts citywide. It also only has nine percent of residents under 18, compared with 22 percent citywide.

A current challenge for NY4P is Mayor Bill be Blasio’s controversial rezoning plan, with his motive to get more affordable housing for the city. Said Kelly, “If you’re going to increase density in New York City for residences, you should also be investing in green spaces in those neighborhoods, or in some cases, new parks!”

Many have heard of the Wolf of Wall Street, but what about the Coyote of Pelham Bay? Arturo Romua, of the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation’s Wildlife Unit, presented a study on the eastern coyote (although its should be noted that the Unit also champions our city’s white-tailed deer, raccoons, red-tailed hawks and piping plovers, among others; for more info, see Romua, who noted that the eastern coyote

has been spotted more regularly in recent years, was passionate in his determination to see these animals safely coexist with the human population. It is only, he insisted, “If you see a coyote is stumbling and coming towards you, that you should be alarmed,” adding, “They are fellow New Yorkers!”

It was announced that the CWPA Annual Picnic will take place on Pier 64 (at W. 24th St.) on the evening of June 12, and the annual CWPA Clearwater Sail on the Hudson River will be on July 25. All attendees left the meeting with a “Zero Waste by 2030” tote bag, courtesy of Andrew Hoyles, Senior Manager, Organics Outreach for the NYC Department of Sanitation (

This story was reprinted courtesy