Rare Chance to See Bay Ridge from Above

Video drones: they’re just one more fulfillment of the 2015 we were promised by Back To The Future Part II.

Recently, YouTube user Roger Kapsalis uploaded the latest in a series of videos taken from a drone – or more accurately, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) – over Shore Road and Dyker Beach Parks. User Joe Cigars also threw in recently for aerial video over Bensonhurst and Bath Beach.

You know what? Bay Ridge and the harbor look pretty good from the air. We all knew that already, but we only have fleeting moments to appreciate it, usually when we’re on a bus or in the passenger seat of a car going over the Verrazano Bridge. And since I’m the one usually in the driver’s seat, concentrating on not dying in a fiery crash as I tend to do, I don’t even get that moment to admire the pretty view.

I also appreciate the fact that both users seem able to enjoy the hobby without abusing it and ruining it for the rest of us.

Remote-controlled model aircraft have been around for a long time, but the hobby has enjoyed some significant new interest. The spike in popularity has been both a blessing and a curse – the more and better cameras get mounted to hobby drones, the more and better sights are shared with the rest of us. But unfortunately, there has also been a proliferation of people who apparently don’t care about things like rules, safety, or good damned sense.

The regulations of Federal Aviation Administration generally allow for the hobby use of remote control aircraft, given a few conditions – most importantly, that the operator keep the aircraft under 400 feet above ground level. Only last week, a passenger airliner approaching LaGuardia Airport was forced to pull up on descent to avoid an RC aircraft operating at around 2,700 feet above Prospect Park.

For reference in these videos, the towers of the Verrazano Bridge are just about 700 feet high.

Furthermore, the Community Board 10 district office reports to us that Dyker Heights residents have raised concerns both in terms of privacy (drones hovering near windows) and safety (drones flying erratically).

There are currently three specifically-designated fields operated by RC clubs in Brooklyn: Calvert Vaux Park, Marine Park, and Floyd Bennett Field. However last year, the City Council introduced legislation that would effectively ban hobby aircraft throughout New York City.

Because, I guess, ruin it for everybody… including anyone who wants to see Bay Ridge from the sky.

This article was updated June 5 to reflect comments from the Community Board 10 district office.