Helicopter Tours to Stop Use of West 30th Heliport in 2010

Saturday's helicopter crash has prompted calls to ban helicopter tours over the Hudson River. While no decision has been made on those flights, WNYC's Matthew Schuerman reports that sightseeing tours will stop using the West Side heliport next year, for an entirely different reason.

REPORTER: The West 30th Street heliport is in the middle of the Hudson River Park. But the state legislation establishing the park prohibited using the heliport for tourism or recreation. That wasn't enforced until last year. Neighborhood residents who disliked the heliport's noise and park advocates who wanted to preserve its character, forced the heliport operator to agree to decrease the number of helicopter tours this past year, and then stop them entirely by next April. Sight-seeing helicopters will still be able to use the Wall Street heliport on the East River, and then fly around the tip of Manhattan and above the Hudson. But the court order means only commercial or emergency helicopters will be taking off and landing on Manhattan's west side. For WNYC, I'm Matthew Schuerman.