New York City is finally emerging from the pandemic—haven’t you heard, it’s the “Summer Of NY“—but the city isn’t really back until all the colorful weirdos return. I long to see all the death metal subway buskers and performance artists dressed as rats in person again, and I long to once again practice radical indifference toward them. But it’s hard to ignore the person who decided to channel the Green Goblin and fly over Times Square recently on a drone hoverboard.
Is this the future of transportation in NYC? Is it viral advertising for the Pelé Soccer Store? Is it a tie-in with the upcoming film Spider-Man: No Way Home, which is rumored to feature Willem Dafoe’s return as the villainous Green Goblin? Is it somehow all of the above?!?
It is not legal to fly drones over large parts of the city, including almost all of Manhattan, and though this is really more drone-adjacent, it’s safe to say we don’t expect that anyone is going to condone having people flying around in the middle of the city with absolutely no respect for the avigation administrative code. We’ve reached out to the NYPD and City Hall for comment.
“According to the NYPD it’s illegal to take off in an aircraft outside of the local airports, and we know they’ve been investing in various drone and anti-drone equipment, so it’s probably only a matter of time before we see dogfights to the death above Times Square,” said Gothamist/WNYC’s resident drone expert, Jake Dobkin.
“Also if Spider-Man taught us anything, it’s that hovercraft operators usually end up dead after their villainous plans go awry, so flying one of those in the city is a dumb stupid idea,” he added.
The eight-propeller drone in the video appears to be an Omni Hoverboard, or something very similar; they apparently cost between $10,000 and $20,000 depending on the design specs. There is a YouTuber by the name of Hunter Kowald who has been riding a similar high-powered drone hoverboard in urban landscapes in the past year, wearing what appears to be a similar helmet/camera setup—you can see a video of that below.
While clearly a stunt, there’s no putting the drone hoverboard genie back in the bottle now—people all around the country are slowly starting to take to the skies in individual jet packs and other high-flying contraptions, and it’s attracting the attention of authorities. Last year, the FAA and FBI were looking into multiple reports of a man wearing a jetpack and flying thousands of feet in the air above Los Angeles International Airport.