NYC is surrounded by 3 crazy busy airports. Just a few months ago, that one famous flight was taking off, flying over your unforth 's new apartment, then it hit the birds, and had to fly left over the GW bridge and landed in the Hudson... I'm not saying that Hudson landings are common, but in my mind (and experience driving up the NJ turnpike into NYC), the area is swarming with huge planes, like no other place on earth!
Why did this one freak everyone out, when the plane that was flying by and hit the birds & landed in the river didn't freak everyone out?? I guess there must be something special about the area right around the tallest super-downtown part of Manhattan, whereas planes flying by just a little tiny bit away from there or a tiny bit higher up are normal.
In my mind, NYC has planes flying all around it 24/7. I'm sure there is something a bit wrong with this mental idea, otherwise the one a few days ago wouldn't have been noticed.
But I think that, except for native New Yorkers or something, it doesn't seem like a big deal to have a plane nearby, 9/11 notwithstanding, because it's sandwiched between these 3 huge airports! Not only that, I'm used to flying into Newark myself, looking down at the buildings, the Statue of Liberty, etc etc. Doesn't seem like an out-of-the-ordinary spot for an airplane!
People are saying that the whole thing demonstrated that some D.C. guy had "a felony lack of common-sense".... but I think to the rest of us, it's not strange to have planes zooming around near Newark, JFK, and LaGuardia.
My point is that this was an easy mistake to make, and I can imagine almost anyone doing the same thing.