Eco Friendly Weekend: New York City

New York CityNew York City is well known for soaring sky scrappers, congested streets, and a fast paced lifestyle. Often regarded as an international capital city, the experiences present in New York City are endless and the people are strong and driven. With a population of eight million within the five boroughs, and 18 million in the metropolitan area, there is never a slow moment in the area. Over 48 million tourists visited New York City in 2010, many of them in search of the on going excitement and high energy daily life. One thing the city is not usually known for is its abundance of green activities and options. Visitors coming from all ends of the globe can come to the Big Apple and truly enjoy a sense of eco friendliness through the city’s array of natural parks, public spaces, and green events. Spending a green weekend in the city never sleeps paves the road towards sustainable eco tourism, and shows the world that New Yorkers know how to relax from time to time. 

What better way to relax than by checking in to an environmentally friendly hotel. Tucked away in the heart of Times Square is The Muse New York, a contemporary boutique hotel that takes pride in creating a sustainable hotel for visitors. Eco friendly amenities and services are found throughout the hotel and in each luxurious room. Recycling is a large part of the hotel’s standard for maintaing a green environment, and encourage visitors to utilize designated recycle trash cans in each room. Everything from the organic mini bar to the eco friendly materials used in the reusable ceramic mugs have been thought of. Cleaning products on the premise are eco-certified, and guests go through paperless check in and check out. 

Hopping on the subway is experiencing New York City in true fashion. There are over 20 subway lines that easily take visitors to their destination with low impact on the environment. Mass transit is a large part of the daily life of New Yorkers, reducing the amount of cars on the road each day. Heading over to Manhattan’s biggest playground, Central Park, allows visitors and residents alike to bask in a part of nature, right in the middle of an expansive city. Green alternatives reign high in Central Park, which boasts 843 acres of grass, trails, and lakes. The park is also host to the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, and two ice skating rinks in the winter. Summer ushers in Summerstage, a popular concert series in the park. Anyone visiting New York City should not miss the natural beauty of Central Park, New York City’s treasure of green fun.

Aside from using the subway, New York City’s other form of mass transit is walking. New Yorkers walk everywhere, and visitors can expect to do the same. A good pair of walking shoes comes in handy when strolling the busy epicenter of Times Square, watching the oversized billboards and Broadway marquees. Exploring the quaint neighborhood of the West Village gives visitors the chance to glimpse into old world brownstones, walking down quiet, history filled streets. The shopping districts of 5th Avenue in Midtown allow any traveler to buy high end, designer products, or find some bargains in Chinatown. Any neighborhood a tourist explores, it is a sure fired guarantee that walking will be involved. Walking is one of the best, and most green way, to truly experience New York City.

Considered to be the crossroads of the world, New York City is home to people from all around the world. Diverse customs, traditions, religions, and culture mix and mingle in the city, creating one of the most distinct combination of culinary options in the world. Within a few blocks distance, tourists can sample anything from Indian food to Korean cuisine, Mexican food to Malaysian delicacies. There is no shortage of organic restaurants and markets either, which is why New York City is a great place to dive right into mouthwatering, sustainable food. Chelsea Market is now host to organic establishments. Located in a refurbished complex which was once home to the National Biscuit Company, Chelsea Market is a perfect place to try out a place like One Lucky Duck. Everything at this dining option is organic and raw, served in its freshest form. Salads and juices are available on a quick and easy take out basis, which is perfect for bringing to nearby High Line Park. Converted from an old railway system, High Line Park is a progressively designed area that takes an unused space and recreates it into a contemporary park. 

GustOrganics Restaurant & Bar is another environmentally friendly restaurant located on the Avenue of Americas and 14th street. Certified by the Green Restaurant Association, GustOrganics delivers appetite filling meals without doing much harm to the environment. The restaurant uses energy saving appliances in the kitchen, recycles constantly, and uses solar energy for lighting sources. Their menu is an impressive one, catering to the needs of nearly everyone. All meals of the day are available, including breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, as well as baby food options and an organic fruit selection. A quirky highlight of the restaurant is that it boasts the first organic bar to be certified by the USDA. The reasonably priced menu and wide variety of appetite pleasing options makes GustOrganics Restaurant & Bar a great place to eat sustainable food in New York City. 

New York City is an international merging point for people from all walks of life. For those who firmly believe in eco tourism, the city has green activities, hotels, and restaurants covered for any environmentalist’s trip. Spending a green weekend in the Big Apple allows visitors to see the city in a new and fresh perspective.

Photo credit: health.utah.gov/enviroepi/activities/EPHTP/TrackingStates/new_york_city.jpg

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