Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Scene: ‘A Helicopter’s Down! Someone Call 911!’

As he sometimes does on quiet afternoons, Robert Dress, 36, took his 9-month-old son, James, on Tuesday to watch the helicopters taking off from the public heliport on 34th Street, near the East River.
At first, it seemed like any other small bonding moment between a father and a son. Mr. Dress, an animator who lives nearby, in Kips Bay, sat on a bench. James was next to him in a stroller. A helicopter was on the landing pad. Its rotors were spinning, causing ripples on the water. As the helicopter lifted off, Mr. Dress told little James, "Look — there it goes."

Then it came back.

"It was already going up," Mr. Dress recalled, "when it spun around a couple of times and flipped over with the propeller underwater and the nose facing Queens." It almost looked like a whale, he said, breaking from the surface and slowly lurching over.

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