With a moniker like “the concrete jungle,” New York City doesn’t instantly inspire images of greenery or an eco-friendly lifestyle. Look a little deeper though, and you’ll see signs of the city’s campaign to protect the environment in everything from LEED certified buildings and a revamped bus system to green spas and salons. New York’s intrepid leader, Mayor Michael Bloomberg (who also happens to be chair of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group) is even featured this month on the cover of L’Uomo Vogue’s eco-sustainable issue. In the article Bloomberg says that New York is well underway to reducing 30% of its carbon footprint by 2030.
With such a strong initiative from the city to become greener, both residents and visitors will find that with a few smart choices, it’s not so difficult to support the cause. Whether you’re looking to stay at a sustainable hotel, eat green cuisine, or even help your pet reduce its carbon footprint, New York is just the place to do it.
Photo Courtesy of Ink48
Tall skyscrapers and steel facades often belie the green nature of many of New York’s new commercial and residential buildings. Visitors to the city now have a range of eco-friendly luxury hotels to choose from that allow guests save energy without sacrificing experience.
Ink48—Located on the West side of Manhattan, Ink48 offers both a breathtaking cityscape as well as stunning water views. The Press Lounge, situated on the 16th floor of Ink48, opened with much fanfare a few years ago and has been repeatedly named one of the city’s best rooftop bars. Beneath all the glitz and glamour, the hotel also offers one of the most eco-minded experiences in the city: everything from the bath amenities and laundry detergent to organic snacks and fair trade coffee are environmentally friendly. The hotel also operates low flow toilets and faucets and donates partially used bath amenities to community programs.
Element Times Square – Global awareness was a top priority for this property when it opened in bustling Times Square just two years ago. In addition to incorporating recycled materials throughout the design as well as low flow fixture and energy saving blubs, the hotel also operates a bike sharing program. Guests will have access to complimentary bikes, and with the West Side Highway just a few blocks away, visitors can take in the best sights the city has to offer without leaving a carbon footprint. Other green hotels to consider: Intercontinental Times Square, The Muse Hotel, The Benjamin, The Grand Hyatt and the Beekman Tower Hotel.
Photo Courtesy of Brooklyn Grange
Farm to Table
Urban farming might sound like an oxymoron, but New York actually boasts a wealth of community farms, gardens and markets, providing organically grown produce to local restaurants. The Brooklyn Grange, for example, is the largest rooftop farm in the country and supplies a number of local culinary destinations such as the famed Roberta’s, Marlow and Sons, and Vinegar Hill House. Gotham Greens, another urban farm located in Brooklyn, grows sustainable goods using hydroponic techniques to produce over 80 tons of herbs and veggies throughout the year. Fine diners can taste their produce at Gramercy Tavern or pick a fresh batch from the greenhouse at Whole Foods or Brooklyn Fare.
On a smaller scale, many restaurants also grow their own produce right on the premises. Bell Book & Candle in the West Village features an aeroponic rooftop garden that supplies herbs and produce to the restaurant. Popular pizzeria, Fornino in Williamsburg seasons their delicately crispy pies with herbs from their own backyard garden.
Photo Courtesy of The Green Spa and Wellness Center
Pamper in (Green) Style
Constant use of aerosol sprays, chemical colors, high voltage hair dryers and endless products doesn’t usually make a spa or salon experience the most eco-friendly. However, getting pretty doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment. A number of creative salons throughout the city offer sustainable beauty services so you can be kind to yourself and Mother Nature.
Grace Heaven Hair Salon – This East Village salon is committed to sourcing the cleanest, greenest coloring and styling products for their clients. All of their products are free from synthetic fragrances and toxic chemicals. The salon’s commitment to being green is also reflected in their use of environmentally friendly paint, cleaning products and recycled paper products found throughout the space. The salon is even powered by wind energy.
Wink Eco Beauty Bar – This popular Brooklyn nail and day spa is equally as committed to protecting the environment as it is to servicing their clients. All the body products used in the spa are eco-friendly, and nail polishes are free of harmful ingredients such as DBP, toluene and formaldehyde. Clients can even choose to get their service done sans water if they so desire.
The Green Spa and Wellness Center – Like its name suggests, this luxury spa is housed in a sustainable, eco-conscious building and offers treatments using organic and environmentally friendly ingredients. In addition to a full range of face, nail and body therapies, the spa also provides a wealth of alternative care programs such as nutrition, detoxification and acupuncture. Visitors are also invited to drop by for frequent events and workshops, which include meditation and hypnotherapy. Other green spas and salons to frequent include: John Master’s Organics, ION Studio, and Sweet Lily Natural Nail Spa.