Senator Chuck Schumer is calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to speed up regulations on drones and release them by the end of the year.
In a statement, Schumer said the city has "become the wild, wild west" for commercial and recreational use of drones, formally called "unmanned aircraft systems."
"There are a number of unregulated small drones throughout New York City, as well as other parts of the state, threatening safety and privacy," Schumer wrote in a letter to the FAA and Commerce Department.
Currently, the FAA bans small drones flying higher than 400 feet or close to airports and populated areas, as well as prohibiting use that endangers national airspace. The agency in May proposed a $2,200 fine against a man who crashed his drone after flying it around midtown last September. The drone smacked into buildings and fell to the sidewalk, nearly hitting a pedestrian. In July, an NYPD helicopter had a close encounter with a drone near the George Washington Bridge.
Schumer also wants to ban private investigators from using drones to peep on unsuspecting people.
An FAA spokesman said the agency is planning to release proposed rules on drones weighing less than 55 pounds, affecting a "wide variety of users."
"We face the challenge of integrating this new technology into the busiest, most complex airspace in the world, and we have to do that safely while not putting an undue regulatory burden on an emerging industry," the spokesman said.