Ron Musto Has Had Enough Disruption from the 1%

OpEd: Noises Off Roosevelt Island. Please

Ron Musto

What do Roosevelt Island and the Hamptons have in common? 

Well, that depends very much on what side of the 1% line you live on.

A Manifesto About Noise Pollution on Roosevelt Island 

If you live above that magical divide: frankly, not much. But if you’re like all the rest of us: plenty, especially when it comes to the environmental damage the 1% does to all the rest of us.

Leaf blower operator between Westview and Island House clearing up nothing but the silence we'd otherwise enjoy.
Leaf blower operator between Westview and Island House clearing up nothing but the silence we'd otherwise enjoy.
Photo by Ron Musto
For now, let’s just leave aside the end of the world through war, disease, famine or environmental collapse, and focus on something much closer to home, what Peter McCarthy reported on in the Roosevelt Island Daily on August 2: NOISE (http://rooseveltislanddaily.prosepoint.net/roosevelt-island-noise-pollut.... )

To follow up on Peter’s report: on noise from leaf blowers. 

Photo #1 was taken on July 20. It shows a landscaper between Westview and Island House: as you can see that noisy blower isn't blowing much around other than hazardous dust.

 

Other useful links about noise complaints and legislation on leaf blowers:

Back to the Hamptons

Let’s go back to our friends in the Hamptons. 

Well, it seems we have lots in common with them. 

The unceasing, physically disturbing noise coming from the 1%’s helicopters and seaplanes flying in and taking off from the East Hampton Airport and Wainscott, and then landing — you know where — right below us on Kips Bay, and in the process turning Roosevelt Island into their approach field, Airstrip One for oligarchs. 

The planes and copters have been zooming lower and lower, louder and louder, right over the center of the Island, right along the building lines (photos 2 and 3 were taken out our window in Westview toward the roof line of Island House). 

And let's not forget the light plane that crashed into a building on the Upper East Side about 10 years ago. (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/12/nyregion/12crash.html)

One of these Hamptons airlines is (without irony) called Sound Aircraft. 

A seaplane cuts the air, showering the East River with !% racket.
A seaplane cuts the air, showering the East River with !% racket.
Photo by Ron Musto
Check out their website at  (http://www.soundaircraft.com, Tel: 800-345-3023, 631-537-8270). They’re based on 23rd Street on the East Side: convenient either to Wall Street or Park Avenue (They can recommend a limo service to home.) 

Flights to the Hamptons “are just 35 minutes long,” and cost only $695.00 per person, each way.

StndAIR used to run at only $495.00 each way from the Hudson to the Hamptons. (https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2011/jul/22/new-york-hamptons-flight). 

In the true spirit of democracy, though, StndAIR ran a lottery (just like the NYC Affordable Housing Lottery!) that could get the lucky winners there for as low $29.00. What the $29.00 folk did when they got there and how they got back is, well, anybody’s guess. 

 

Here's some recent coverage of the fight going on in the Hamptons over aircraft noise:

 

Sadly, after a recent NY State Supreme Court decision in favor of the airline companies, the Hamptons townships’ only solution may be to shut down the East Hampton Airport.

Back Home on Roosevelt Island

So, back on Roosevelt Island, the noise pollution starts on Friday morning (Got to get out to “East” and get the house staff in shape for the casual cocktail party tonight). 

It runs through Saturday morning (for the stragglers: there’s always some real-estate foreclosure deal or some hostile merger or some drinks with a Senator who can’t make it to the party Saturday). 

The helicopter shuttle accommodating Hamptons traffic thunders over Westview.
The helicopter shuttle accommodating Hamptons traffic thunders over Westview.
Photo by Ron Musto
It calms down over the weekend; and then starts up again Sunday night (for those who like to start the acquisitions week bright and early on Monday morning). 

But then it continues — maybe 10–20 flights an hour through Monday morning (oh, always some last minute deals, some little details of the new beach house to work out), and then…?

Well, then those of us who live along the East River can reopen our windows, take in the fresh air and get back to the human tasks of eating, talking, thinking, playing and working in relative silence. 

That is, until the Monday-morning leaf blowers arrive.…

How Can We Fix It?

But all this leads we 99%-ers — citizens, voters and taxpayers — to the overwhelming question: “What Is to Be Done?” 

For starter’s, try calling DEP at 311 about noise: both from the leaf blowers and the aircraft. 

Make it an issue. Then try contacting Ben Kallos (Tel: 212-860-1950, or email: bkallos@benkallos.com ), who’s indicated a willingness to consider noise a political issue worth taking on. 

Are Rockefeller and Cornell concerned about the impact of noise pollution on research, teaching and community life? Can the RI Daily find out whether we have friends here on the ground?

Unlike East Hampton’s airport, we can’t shut down the East River, but we can try to return it to  civilized, public space that works for all of us.

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