UPPER WEST SIDE GRIPES: HELICOPTERS, DOG POO, BICYCLISTS VS. DOG-WALKERS, MORE

We often receive emails about quality of life complaints that people have about the neighborhood, and we thought we’d list some of them to see if others are having the same problems. “Gripes” may sound like a dismissive way of talking about people’s complaints, but that’s not our intention. These quality of life problems drive us crazy too, and some of them are violations of the law.

Helicopters

Commercial helicopters are supposed to steer clear of most Upper West Side air space, for safety and noise reasons (also, my TV antenna always loses signal when helicopters are nearby). Tours of Central Park, for instance, were supposed to be eliminated as of 2010. But lately, lots of helicopters appear to be flying very close to Riverside and West End Avenue and then turning East around 72nd street, readers tell us. We’ve posted one of the emails we received below. We reached out to Councilwoman Gale Brewer’s office about this too, but she never got back to us. If you do see or hear a helicopter that seems too close or operating at an odd hour, call 311 and describe the helicopter to them. Here’s a cheat sheet showing different kinds of helicopters and info about the laws. We’ve posted images of the legal tourist routes below the note.

Wondering if others have noticed an increase in extreme loud noise coming from helicopter traffic up and down the Hudson recently. I began to notice this last month.

i have lodged noise complaints with 311 and have been told they will be looking into it but so far there has been no response. So today a filed a complaint about my complaint not being answered . ( getting nowhere fast !)

I’ve noticed within the last month that the amount of helicopters traveling up and downtown has increased and the flight pattern has changed. They used to  fly directly over the river and at  a higher elevation. Now they appear to fly over West End Ave and bank left  on 72 St. then swing down toward the river. And there are so many of them, flying one after another.  I haven’t’ been able to determine if they’re NEWS copters or just tourist helicopters. It starts early morning around 7ish am until 10 or 11 at night and it’s affecting the quality of  my life. I cannot even open my windows now.

I was hoping you can investigate this and find out if others may have heard this and if there is something that can be done to effect  change. (At least get those flight patterns back over the river instead of over apartments ) Perhaps you can make some calls to NEWS Rooms or the tourist helipads downtown.

I live at 170 West End. Sometimes my windows vibrate from the chopper blades.

Dog Crap

This is a perennial complaint, but always important to remember. Coming home with crap on your shoe will definitely ruin your day.

Is it just me or have any of our readers  noticed the increase of dog poop on the streets of our neighborhood? My Aunt was here visiting me from California last week and commented about it daily during her time on the UWS. After she pointed it out, I also started to notice more and more piles that had not been cleaned up and on more than one occasion accidentally stepped in a pile.

What is going on? I am a dog mom and I always pick up after my fur baby. Not only is it the law but it also keeps our streets clean and it’s the responsible thing to do. I’m not sure who these owners or dog walkers are that are being lazy and disrespectful to  our neighborhood. The other dog parents on my street and on the UWS that I know always pick up after their dog no matter how big or little the dog is or the mess they make!

Do any of our readers have some ideas on how we can encourage others to pick up after there dogs? Perhaps we can leave plastic bags stations through out the streets? If you have any suggestions please comment below and please please please pick up after you dog and keep the UWS CLEAN!

Here’s another one from late last year:

I am a new upper west sider and my husband and I move up here for so many reasons…parks, community, pet friendly etc.

All have proven to be true minus one glaring problem…I step in another dogs sh*t at least once a week. I really don’t get why ppl can’t pick it up. Not only do I step in it, but it makes our community unhygienic and filthy! Not to mention if you are a dog owner…having your dog around another dogs bowels is very risky and likely to create issues for your dog!

I would be happy to write a more “formal” article about this. But thought I would start by planting a seed:)

Busted Pavement in front of Mickey Mantle School

We received this info months ago, and just followed up: it still hasn’t been fixed.

The sidewalk in front of the Mickey Mantle school on WEA and 82 is in horrible shape. Its so bad that some chunks of sidewalk are just missing and one can see the dirt. This no less in front of one the city’s education institutions where children walk everyday. This complaint was forwarded to Gale Brewer. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Cyclists Versus Dog-Walkers in Riverside Park

This is also a complaint we heard about a little while back.

Regarding cyclists and dogs on the Promenade. Just like in Oklahoma, when the ranchers and the farmers  couldn’t be friends, there is an ongoing feud between the cyclists and the dog owners/walkers in Riverside Park.  What is to be done, is anyone’s guess, but I am wondering why the cyclists don’t use the bike path by the river (built for them with magnificent views and sunsets, as well as dog less paths) and continue using the Promenade, much to the dismay of pedestrians and dog walkers? Seems like Central Park is more successful at keeping everyone happy in the park. is it because it is so much richer or because it is a better  planned out space? whatever the reason, we have to make our park more user friendly to everyone who enjoys and loves it.

If you have suggestions for these folks, let us know in the comments. Keep it constructive. If you have gripes that you’d like your neighbors to hear about, email us at info@westsiderag.com with the subject line “gripes”.

Photo by Big Golf.

NEWS | 36 comments | permalink
    1. michael says:

      DOG POO!!!! Walking path at AMNH and 83rd between CPW and Columbus are the worst!

    2. Beth says:

      Pick it up or not a dog shouldn’t be crapping on the sidewalk. Excrement is not hygienic it should be done in the gutter not on the sidewalk.

    3. jerry says:

      I understand the readers’ comments…but, overall, dog poop is not a problem. Sure, here and there, once and awhile, but this is not Utopia and, with all the stress involved in living in our fair city, shouldn’t raise your blood pressure. My personal gripes are three: one, the constant noise of the rampant construction, renovation and destruction in our neighborhood…two, dog walkers with five or six dogs who spend their walks on their cellphones, not particularaly caring about their dogs nor nearby pedestrians…and, three, bicycle delivery boys who still shoot out of the dark going the wrong way on one way streets – or, worse yet – on the sidewalk. This situation has not markedly changed over the last few months, despite promises by local leaders and police.

    4. Jeshek says:

      Use your smartphone, snap a picture of the disrespectful dog owner/walker, and post it here and elsewhere online for everyone to see.

      Cyclists: make a loud comment ‘This is not a bike lane!’ – make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t argue though.

      • K8 says:

        Cycling IS actually permitted on the promenade in Riverside Park because that is how you get down to the bike path on the water. So, maybe don’t yell at cyclists “this is not a bike lane,” because it is.

        • Jess says:

          Absolutely. If anything, they should paint white lines on the promenade–making one a bike “lane,” the other for walking. And while they’re at it, it couldn’t hurt to post some signs for the wanna-be Lance Armstrongs: Slow down, announce when passing on the left, etc.

          — Spoken by a dog owner who cleans up the crap, someone who walks the area solo, and someone who bikes on Upper-Riverside and along the water, but is uber-sensitive to pedestrians.

          MY TRUE COMPLAINT? THE KIDS ON SCOOTERS GOING DOWN WEST END AVENUE. Seriously. Control your kids; my bubbe doesn’t need to feel like she’s going to get run over by a child whose first name is a president’s last (Think about it: “Madison, darling! Jefferson, dear!” etc.) along West End. Get off your cell phones and take your kids to the playground.

          • TEJ says:

            Bravo, well said!

          • Upper West Side Wally says:

            Hear, hear!

          • dan says:

            Ah, jess, you want kinds to go the playground to ride scooters.That’s not allowed. Here’s a little advice, say something if they get too close, but be tolerant. Those kids. guess what, they will be paying the social security, medicare and other taxes in a short time to support you. The dogs befouling the sidewalks wont be

    5. msmezzo says:

      What a bunch of whiners! I live on Broadway at 140th Street, and the noise, dirt and trash is unbelievable. Lack of city services is remarkable, overflowing trash cans, fire hydrants left open for days on end. But its not the expensive UWS, and the people here are generally poor and don’t speak english, so don’t report these problems like long time UWS’ers do.

      And I’ll tell you why I ride my bike in Riverside Park instead of along the bike path by the river…the path by the river is CROWDED with crazy fast Tour de France wannabe cyclists coming off the GW bridge, pedestrians with their earphones on and their heads up their asses, and from here one rides along right next to the highway. The park is lovely, with wide paths, beautiful gardens and no huge hill to push the bike up when you reach your destination.

      I’ll stop now.

      • msmezzo says:

        oh, and the paths in Riverside Park ARE bike lanes and are posted as such in all literature about bike lanes in the city. Of COURSE pedestrians have the right of way, and should always be alerted of a cyclists presence by a respectful “passing on your left” or a bell. Pedestrians should also be paying attention, and get off the phone and turn down the music in their earbuds.

        • pedestrian says:

          And what pray tell should we do when a cyclist going at break neck speed talking on his cell phone while trying to steady his gym bag and his brief case …you get the picture. Cyclists seem to believe that pedestrians are obstacles to be overcome rather than humans with a right to use the foot paths or streets. As to having right of way that is about as true as the statement that we actually have ZONING in this town that protects neightborhoods.

          • msmezzo says:

            I know all about those cyclists…they are a danger to everyone. Not all cyclists are like that, however. And not all pedestrians have their heads up their asses either, but the ones who walk (unexpectedly) right into my path after I have tried to notify them of my presence are causing accidents too…I have the scabs on my knees to prove it. EVERYONE needs to keep their wits about them and stay off the phone.

            • Leon says:

              In addition to the crazy bikers in the park, I can’t stand the ones who come racing down Riverside Drive in the 80s, completely ignoring the lights and nearly killing people who are legally crossing the street.

      • Exactly says:

        Amen. Couldn’t agree more. I’m a life-long UWSer and have lived here since even Mayor Lindsay wouldn’t go West of his CPW apartment (and could probably care less).

      • Suzanne says:

        Right on! Well put 🙂

    6. ka says:

      The sound of helicopters during the daylight doesn’t bother me as much as inconsiderate neighbors who sit outside in their courtyards talking really loudly (and when they’re drunk, there’s loud music involved as well). They neither seem to realize or care that their noise could possibly be interrupting the sleep of others.

    7. Ken says:

      Anyone notice that Verizon cell phone service in some parts of the UWS has totally gone into the dumper in the last month (long time for outgoing calls to connect, incoming calls go right to voicemail without the phone ever ringing, inability to get a 3G connection, iMessages not going through, calls disconnected even though you are standing still on the sidewalk, phone no longer connects in certain parts of your apartment?).

        • Ken says:

          It took hours on the phone and much persistence, but a tier 3 Verizon support person acknowledged to me that Verizon had lost its lease on many cell phone towers (end of June) across the country owned by another (unnamed) carrier. I found online news articles in western states papers referencing the problem and identifying AT&T as the company who did not renew the Verizon leases. Out west, they can just build a tower somewhere. It Manhattan – it is a big problem. Call Verizon and complain. Tell them you know about the cell phone tower issue. There is a device known as a cellular network extender that you can put in your home that will fix the problem. Press them – they will provide one free or let you out of your Verizon contract (but your Verizon phone will not work in another carrier’s network – so not a great solution.)

    8. Pedestrian says:

      Helicopters pose a serious threat to human life. Helicopters that are engaged in sightseeing should do so over the river. A at least if they have to ditch they won’t do so on top of hundreds of people. Commercial helicopters should also be routed over the river unless there is an emergency. The risk posed to humans on the ground is not out weighted by the view tourists are getting or the money the tour company is making. I realize that in the Bloomberg Administration regular humans not mean much but please keep the helicopters out of the UW and away from densely populated areas.

    9. Nick says:

      There is a great way to make sure the dog poop is picked up.
      Just last week as I was waiting for the light to cross the street, this really Big guy started walking away after his dog had left a pile on the sidewalk.Are you going to clean up? I asked. You want to try to make me? He said. I took my cell phone out and pretended that I was taking his picture with the dog poop next to him. He actually bend down and cleaned up. Snap a picture of the offender and use it if need be.
      IT IS ILLEGAL NOT TO PICK UP IN NYC.
      There is a fine that increases with repeaters. Maybe we can stop these inconsiderate and lazy people.

    10. Virginia Seipt says:

      What is the high pitched screeching noise emanating from the garage (I think that’s where it comes from) on 70th st just east of Riverside Boulevard in the north side of the street Trump Building?
      I sometimes feel it’s a security thing, but I don’t know. All I do know is that this one gives me a tension headache, and IT NEVER STOPS!!!

    11. Jean Joachim says:

      Central Park posts big signs that stand up saying “no bike riding on the paths”. Still some bikers choose to ignore this. But it has helped as pedestrians can point to the signs to alert bikers. Posting this restriction would take some bikers off paths. Handing out tickets for ignoring the signs would also help.

    12. MJ says:

      Seriously. SOME (note the some) dog owners in this city are spoiled, selfish and disrespectful. First of all, ever hear the term CURB YOUR DOG? It literally means have the dog do their business past the curb. In the street. Then pick it up. I suggest all dog owners learn this term as your dog raising it’s leg to pee on a nicely curated tree box and then run down the cracks in the sidewalk were we can all step on it and carry it into our apartments is unappreciated. Not to mention the dog owners in riverside park who, despite the many signs and available fenced off dog parks, do not put their dogs on leashes in public areas. Allowing them to chase after runners, and run alongside children. Every dog can have a bad moment and bite. Any dog. Use the parks and leashes or enjoy your lawsuit when an understandably angry person or parent says enough is enough.

      As for the wanna be tour de france people. Slow the hell down!. I walked uptown along the paths last Saturday and saw two very close calls. And both parties – on foot or on bike – got the same amount of hurt.

      The whole point of this city and it parks and keep them nice is to share them. Enjoy your dog! Ride your bike! Wear your headphones! But respect one another for &*^%! sake! Use a leash, pick up your dog’s crap, slow down when you ride, pay attention!

      Or go live in the country where you don’t have to deal with anyone but yourself!

      • Donna says:

        1- Delivery guys on bicycles, especially the motorized ones that are illegal. And they DO NOT pay attention to one way signs or traffic lights.
        2- Bikers in Central Park. Many ride illegally on the pathways. They also do not pay not attention to lights, stop signs, etc. I have been complaining about this for years.
        3- Riverside Park is so rundown. Such a beautiful place and certain sections are not maintained well at all. Many of the fences are falling down, the walkways are a mess. In one area, the track by 72nd street and the river, some of the metal stakes left over from fencing repair is just lying on the grass. It looks really sloppy and not to mention could be dangerous if anyone doesn’t see it and trips on it.

    13. Peter says:

      You still have a TV antenna? I think that’s your problem, not the helicopters.

    14. Jim says:

      I own a dog and dislike coming across poop on the sidewalk, just like everyone else. I try to assume the best in the situation- that Fido went into stealth mode and the owner didn’t notice. I carry extra bags with me on my walks, so I just pick it up and drop it in the nearest trash can. NYC can drive you crazy if you focus too closely on the things that annoy you (strollers, scooters, spitters, bikers, etc.). I tend to think that if you’ve gotten to the point that you’re taking photos of people behaving poorly and posting then online, then for your emotional wellbeing, maybe it’s time to consider living in a less populated community.

    15. Amy says:

      I don’t think it’s at all dismissive to call these gripes…that’s what they are.

      If the worst things we have to complain about are helicopter noise and dog poo, I’d say we’ve got it pretty dang good.

    16. Richard says:

      I regularly ride in Riverside Park and on the Hudson River Greenway and I ALWAYS ride courteously, whether there are pedestrians and dog walkers nearby or not.

      How come no one writes about me? Yes, there are many cyclists who blatantly ignore those around them. But please, don’t lump me in with them. Speaking on behalf of all quiet, considerate cyclists, who happen to be MOST of us, I resent being tarred with the same brush.

    17. Seriously, dog crap is just insane. We live in building that has a doggy bag dispenser and yet, the entrance area is full of it.
      We just do not get it. As dog owners, sometimes when having a spare bag, we pick after others. I wish someone can place their unpicked crap in front of their doorway.

    18. Liz says:

      What really makes me crazy is the fact that so many dog owners believe the planters and flower boxes on the sidewalks are there for use as a personal toilet/bathroom for their dog.

      I have actually seen owners place their small dogs in these areas to do their business. The owners then just walk away.

      I have even seen people let their dogs pee on churches, on Christmas wreathes on sale at local street stands and have also seen people let their dogs pee on canvas fences surrounding the enclosures for outdoor cafes.

      You can’t blame the dog. It’s the people — they have this sense of entitlement and heaven help you if you say anything to them. I made the mistake of saying something to one guy and he followed me for a block and then threatened the do bodily harm to me.

      The ultimate though was the guy that could not understand why his male dog should not be allowed to pee on a church.

    19. ellie says:

      They should put free doggy bags up. They do that in california and it is really effective.

    20. Tony says:

      Of the issues listed dog poo is the biggest complaint for me. Pick up after your dog! Just makes sense for most of us. If I could add one to the list it would be litter. Do we teach our children about the impact of litter on our community any more? I see too many people just throw things on the ground and the city is no better. Are the garbage pails at the 96th street subway always filled to over capacity? How many of us grew up with the American Indian and the tear? We need to bring him back.

    21. Amriel says:

      Not to mention that dog owners let their dogs pee on anything and everything like it’s no big deal. They’ll even look you in the eye when their dog is peeing on your front stoop.

    22. david says:

      Helicopters…..unfortunately Helen Rosenthal, the new UWS council member seems to have no interest in this issue.