New York City's Emergency Text Alerts In the Spotlight

Published on May 12, 2009
by Marisa Taylor

A warning would have been welcome when an Air Force jet flew unannounced over the New York Harbor weeks ago and sent frightened workers in lower Manhattan into a tizzy. (When it turned out the flyover was for an expensive photo op, the White House official who approved it resigned from his post over the scandal.)

On Monday it seemed it might happen again–but with advance warning from a little-known city service. Downtown New Yorkers received two messages via email and text from Notify NYC, an emergency public communication system of New York City, alerting them that a military plane had requested to fly a plane over the Hudson River around 10:30 a.m.

When the Federal Aviation Agency denied the request (ostensibly because the notice was too short, but maybe because April 27’s memory was too fresh), Notify NYC sent another message to keep subscribers in the loop.

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