Well Patch, congrats. Once again you drew me out of retirement writing for you; or more specifically, this continued tirade of locals crying ‘NOMBY’ (Not Over My Backyard) on aircraft noise did. I commented in past Patch articles several times on this, so here’s several plus one:
To everyone protesting aircraft noise, with all due respect: Are you for real?!? It’s like living near the train tracks and complaining to the MTA about train noise…oh wait, you already did that. Or like living along NHP Road and complaining to the highway department about all the cars and traffic and horn honking (did I come across your next crusade?). Once I was in a grocery store and overheard a customer complaining to the manager about how the space taken up by employees packing out sale items was an inconvenience to her – to which he said: ‘your shelves have to get restocked somehow, ma’am’.
And that’s the point, it’s really simple. You and I and all of our neighbors happen to live within close distance of two of the largest and busiest international airports in the world servicing one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world. Maybe you’re ignorant and need some info, or a reality check. I’ll show you, here we go:
From New Hyde Park Village Hall, LaGuardia is 10 miles away and JFK is only 7 miles away. Manhattan Island and all its skyscrapers where we ought to not have planes landing towards are only 15 miles away. In other words, we’re just down the road, literally.
JFK is the sixth busiest US Airport by total passenger boarding and traffic, first in international passenger traffic, and sixth in cargo traffic. LaGuardia is the 20th busiest US Airport by total passenger boarding and traffic. I was nice and didn’t throw in Newark Liberty. However the Metropolitan Airport System comprised of the three is the second biggest in the world in terms of passenger traffic and first in the world in combined flight operations. Check the Bureau of Transportation Statistics where the Wikipedia content I got the stats from was directly referenced if you don’t believe me. And all of this is orchestrated, managed and going on 24/7/365 closer to our front lawns than is Jones Beach.
You know, when you look at it, given the enormity of air traffic – the Port Authority and FAA actually do a pretty good job at handling these extremely massive operations at minimal impact to surrounding communities as it is…
Now you can’t tell me you didn’t move in unexpected to this or have been somehow inconvenienced because you weren’t. New York City is not some Asian boomtown that popped up ten years ago: it’s a centuries old metropolis. LaGuardia was opened in 1939 and JFK (then NY International Airport a.k.a. Idelwild) in 1948.
Unless you inherited your homes, you likely voluntarily moved into them well aware that you were living in a town very close to the biggest network of airports and one of the biggest metropolises on Earth. And if you rebut and point out that the size and number of aircraft has increased over time, well duh! How it is not reasonable to acknowledge that over time the airplanes would get bigger and the traffic would increase, even in the far future when JFK becomes a commercial Spaceport shuttling people into space. Come on!
So, since you will continue this Don Quixote… fight… until someone with courage from the FAA or Port Authority comes to every one of your meetings and debunks your petty arguments one by one nonstop, my point is this:
What realistic, reasonable and rational argument – and solution – do you have towards organizing to protest this natural consequence of the region you live in and the NYC economy made possible by international business traffic that you have benefited from? And what is your endgame? If the FAA and Port Authority gave you control over the air routes, do you think you could draft a better plan for all the traffic, weather, logistical and emergency conditions which would both enable the skies of your neighborhood to be clear while allowing normal air traffic to continue? How many of you hold a background in air traffic logistics?
So unless you want to band together, start a collection plate and finance a massive international airport deep offshore to handle our air traffic (which I think is a pretty cool but unrealistic idea right now, especially since you will then draw the ire of your NIMBY comrades on the south shore who shot down the wind farms): you will end up playing a street against street game of whose sacred backyard air rights should and shouldn’t get ‘violated’, like a bunch of castaways stuck on an island judging who gets the right to eat. And while you’re at it, I’d also like to see you all boycott using the airports that offend you so much; I wouldn’t need a stopwatch to time how quickly one and more of you balks.
So to close, with mercy for intelligent thinking and productive dialogue, may I suggest your movement, Congresswoman McCarthy now included; instead pursue some more productive initiatives: like how to restore our local economy, revitalize our downtowns and upgrade our crumbling infrastructure. You know: the kind of stuff that actually matters and the kind of issues that count?