Hotel Spotlight: 70 park avenue hotel

70 park avenue hotel is located on the corner of Park Avenue and 38th Street in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan’s Midtown.  The luxury hotel sits conveniently located to some of New York City’s most prominent tourist destinations.  Featuring sophisticated amenities with eco-conscious mindfulness, 70 park avenue provides a tranquil oasis in the heart of the Big Apple.

Located close to JFK International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark International Airport, visiting 70 park avenue couldn’t be easier.  However, guests who prefer driving can take advantage of the hotel’s Green Road Warrior Package.  The eco-inspired package provides guests with $20 off parking when they arrive in a hybrid car.

Inside the boutique hotel, guests will find tranquility in the elegant décor, focused on New York’s stylish fashion.  Guests can choose from eight room options ranging from a cozy 225 square foot Double Room to a spacious 475 square foot King Suite.  Each room features a beautiful contrast of decorating elements.  Rich browns and soft whites give a comfortable feel, while lavender accents and glass lamps provide a touch of softness.  Though the rooms present a “pied-a-terre for the young-at-heart nomad,” environmental touches are never far.  All hotel suites are non-smoking, use energy-efficient light bulbs and air conditioning units, provides in-room recycling containers and offers a fully-stocked honor bar with organic options.

Situated within walking distance of major attractions, guests can enjoy a day of shopping on Fifth Avenue, visit Union Square or take in a Broadway show.  70 park avenue’s world-class concierge service will help plan the perfect day.  Going a step further in green practices, the hotel also features an eco-concierge, which will help plan eco-friendly excursions throughout the city.   

From the moment of check-in, guests will enjoy the hotel’s motto of “live life well.”  Infused into all aspects of 70 park avenue’s services, guests need not leave their suites to be pampered.  The hotel offers an in-suite spa service, guaranteeing stress will melt away.  Earth-friendly and organic Kerstin Florian products are used for massages and body treatments.  All massaging oils are made from 100% organic sunflower oil, pure essential oils, natural botanicals and wild-crafted ingredients.  Dedicated to providing a harmonious blend for the skin and the environment, Kerstin Florian creates a perfect blend for the senses.

After spa pampering, guests can refuel at the hotel’s restaurant, silverleaf tavern.  One of New York’s best bar and restaurants, silverleaf tavern serves New York style cuisine with a playful flare.  Silverleaf prides itself on serving seasonal produce, meats and fish, drawing on the diversity of the Northeast.  Not only does silverleaf use seasonal products, but the restaurant also repurposes kitchen oils into biodiesel. 

70 park avenue hotel is part of Kimpton Hotel, which is synonymous with eco-consciousness.  As part of Kimpton, 70 park avenue strives to provide guests with a comfortable, eco-friendly stay.  The hotel cleans with non-toxic, environmentally safe products, uses soy-based inks printed on 100% recycled paper and practices a towel and linen re-use it program.  But, 70 park avenue hotel’s commitment to the earth goes beyond eco-awareness.  Kimpton Hotels work to provide a better community as well.  Putting their own “live life well” philosophy to practice, the chic hotel participates in Parks for People, Dress for Success and Red Ribbon Campaign.  All three organizations focus on social responsibility.

Featured in numerous travel magazines, including Smart Luxury Travel, National Geographic Traveler and Luxury Travel Advisor, 70 park avenue hotel ensures guests will enjoy a rejuvenating, eco-friendly stay.  Travelers can rest at ease knowing their hotel choice is contributing to a healthier earth and more responsible community.         

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The Cube Project: A Sustainable Bachelor Pad

In April 2011, the Edinburgh International Science Festival in Scotland unveiled a model of the Cube Project, a sustainable living alternative presented by Dr. Mike Page. Dr. Page, a reader in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, designed the Cube as a way for one person to live a low-impact, modern lifestyle in an eco-friendly bachelor pad.

The Cube has a 2-meter head height throughout the house, measures 3x3x3 meters (27 cubic meters in total), and has a kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bed. The entryway opens up into the living room, where two chairs and a table can be pushed together to form a sofa, or arranged around the table for a cozy dinner for two. The living room also has a surprisingly spacious closet, a flat-screen LED TV mounted to the wall, a washing machine and a space for hanging clothes up to dry. A short flight of space-saving stairs leads to the bathroom, with a composting toilet and full-size shower. The stairs, each wide enough for just one foot, require some navigation skills, but seem easy to get used to. Solid waste from the toilet is composted, while liquid wasted drains to a reed bed underneath the house. Composting toilets often lessen the need for water in a toilet tank, as they treat solid waste in a tank underneath the toilet. Absorbent additives such as sawdust, peat moss, and coconut coir are added to the compost to add air pockets, which break down the waste. The kitchen is furnished with a sink, drying rack, cabinets, mini fridge, and cooktop. Another set of stairs leads to a full-size bed in a loft.

The Cube is powered by sustainable lighting and electricity, including high-efficiency LED lighting throughout the house. The kitchen has an energy-efficient refrigerator, and an induction cooktop – meaning that it heats the electric burners but not the air around it, eliminating the need to turn on the air conditioning while cooking. The house has solar panels on the roof and window-less south wall, triple-glazed windows to insulate the building, and a central air source heat pump, which utilizes the outside air for heating. Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air, even in cool temperatures, and release this heat inside the building. Not surprisingly, these pumps are most efficient in warmer weather, since less energy is needed to heat up the extracted air, but they are still very efficient even at freezing temperatures. Sustainable, renewable cork flooring carpets the house, while the walls and furniture are constructed from sustainably-harvested plywood and English sweet timber.

This cozy box of a house presents itself as not only a viable living option, but also as a quick fix during times of disaster, such as after an earthquake or tornado strikes. The Cube is affordable and can even be profitable – the Cube is intended to generate as much energy as it uses over the course of a year, and owners could sell some of the energy produced by the home’s solar panels, earning up to $1600 per year.

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Brooklyn’s 25 Carroll Street Condos Opt for Salvaged Materials

January 13, 2011

25 Carroll Street added its name to the growing list of sustainably designed housing complexes.  Located in the Columbia Street waterfront area of Brooklyn, the building was developed by Alex Barrett of Barrett Design and Development.  The condominiums were placed on the market in October of 2010 receiving offers on all units within five days.  On November 23, 2010 a contract for the last unit was signed. 

The 5-story masonry and heavy-timber building was constructed in 1898 by Francis Romeo.  Romeo, the then president of Brooklyn’s Macaroni Company, used the building for nearly 30 years to house his pasta manufacturing business.  In the late 1920’s the building was sold and for almost forty years served as a facility for several furniture manufactures.  In 2010, 25 Carroll LLC bought the entire building for $3,250,000 from Marathon Hosiery Company.

Barrett and his design and development firm worked to achieve a sustainable condo complex by using salvaged objects.  His most innovative design was using two shipping containers as the bulkhead for the rooftop.  Barrett said he developed the idea after staring across the rooftops into a shipyard full of the containers.  The bulkhead could have been made from a wide range of products such as masonry, steel framing, or wood, but Barrett explained the installation of shipping containers was a timesaver.  What would have taken weeks of work took merely hours to complete. 

The shipping containers allowed for a common area on the roof of the building while providing coverage for a stairway, elevator shaft, and mechanical space.  Views from the rooftop terrace look out to the Manhattan skyline and New York Harbor.  Barrett thinks the steel boxes offer great opportunities for reuse.  “[W]e always have a net surplus of these giant steel boxes.  They’re wonderful little pieces of engineering, but just because of the laws of supply and demand, they’re practically worthless in this country.”

The use of shipping containers was one of many ways Barrett successfully incorporated salvaged material into the building’s esthetics.  Preserving and revealing the history and character of the building was the forefront of design.  Interiorly, existing timber beams and columns along with existing masonry was restored and exposed.  Heavy-timber beams that needed to be replaced were repurposed.  Many of the old joists, beams, and columns that were replaced received a second life as furniture elements in the new condominiums.  New products, such as polished concrete countertops and exposed steel metalwork, were selected based on the products ability to compliment the old, reused materials.

Exteriorly, the masonry was retained and restored.  New double-hung windows with “thermally broken aluminum frames and insulated glazing units with low e-coating and argon filled airspace” were installed. The lobby, featuring exposed masonry, new concrete flooring, and benches made from repurposed heavy-timber, offers a dramatic, sophisticated entryway.

The condo’s design was based off three principles:  respecting the character of the building and its history, authenticity of materials, and environmental sensitivity.  With these principles in mind “efforts were made to significantly reduce the amount of waste.” 

Within the past several years, Columbia Street has blossomed into a trendy place to live.  Renovation efforts, such as 25 Carroll Street, and location make the Columbia Street area an appealing place to live.  Award winning gardens are plentiful in the area adorning every other corner.  Brooklyn Bridge Park and Pier 6 opened in June 2010 offering playgrounds and ferry service to Governor’s Island.  The area is also a hub for daily needs.  Retails, restaurants, coffee shops, and fitness centers surround the area making walking or biking accessible options.  Revitalization of the area’s neighborhoods has increased residential and retail developments making Columbia Street a solid investment for the economy and the environment.