Eco-friendly New York trip
Is an eco-friendly New York trip doable? Environmentally friendly and ecotourism are probably not the first things that come to mind when you think about New York. However, there are many green and climate-friendly choices you can make to reduce your carbon footprint during your New York trip. I’ll show you my personal tips in this post.
How can you reduce your New York carbon footprint?
Even though flying isn’t great for the environment, you can nowadays compensate for the carbon emission. A lot of airlines are already offering such deals. There are also dedicated websites where you can support organisations in fighting climate change and special projects where you can donate to protect the environment.
One of the easiest green decisions you can make in New York is taking the subway instead of a taxi or an Uber. This will not only reduce exhaust gases, but it will also help you save money. If you use a MetroCard you won’t have to stand in line for metro tickets and it will save you even a bit more money. A subway ride is not only cheaper, but it is most of the time also much faster than a car – a win-win situation for the earth and yourself! The subway and AirTrain are also a very green way to travel from the airport to your hotel and back.
Small things also make a difference
There are a lot of small things that you can do while exploring the city. These things can make a real difference and you can easily incorporate it to turn your New York visit into an eco-friendly trip. The tap water in New York is drinkable, which means you don’t need to buy plastic bottles when you go sightseeing. Even better: bring your own (non-plastic) bottle to fill it up. Most cafés and chains will even pour your coffee in a reusable mug when asked. You can reduce waste by not taking straws and plastic cutlery and bringing a cotton bag to stores and shops.
Rent a bike
Another great alternative is using your own legs and I don’t mean that you need to walk everywhere. After all, Manhattan is huge and therefore it’s better to use a bike to explore the city than having blisters on your feet. You can rent a bike in New York and explore Central Park or ride over the Brooklyn Bridge and see more of Williamsburg. It’s a fun way to discover the little gems and you even do something for your health! If you are worried that your bike skills might not match the Manhattan traffic, you can also book a guided tour that will avoid the busy routes. There are also electric bike tours, in case you want to be more comfortable during the tour and concentrate a bit more on sightseeing than pedaling.
Green paradise in New York
Brooklyn is not only home to one of the coolest areas in New York, but it also offers a beautiful green and tranquil area to relax: The Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers a wide variety of plants in a lush green landscape. It’s a great destination to bike to, as you’ll see a different side of New York and it’s an ideal place for a relaxing break amidst all the plants. In spring a visit is a special treat as you can admire the cherry blossoms. Perfect for an escape from the hustle and bustle of Midtown and with your ticket you support the conservation of the beautiful flora.
The Bronx might be a place where you least expect another green oasis. Indeed, it used to be a somewhat less safe space in the 1970s but these times are long gone. Much has changed and one of the nicest green places nowadays is the New York Botanical Garden. It’s one of the biggest botanical gardens in the US and you could spend hours here judging by its size. It’s great when you want to venture out of Manhattan and get to know another borough. If you have a New York Pass entrance to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden as well as the New York Botanical Garden is free!
Go vegetarian or vegan (for a day)
Personally, I would have a hard time going full vegetarian or even vegan but even I know that eating less meat is a good thing for the environment. I am not saying that you shouldn’t try the tasty burgers at Shake Shack or not have a hotdog from a food cart. But it won’t hurt to check out what the other side has to offer. New York is known for its progressive food culture and you can find a lot of good vegetarian or vegan restaurants in New York where you won’t miss meat at all. Saving the planet by munching on delicious food? I can think of worse things!
Supporting local farmers in NYC
Going to the market is a fun thing, especially when it’s part of your eco-friendly New York trip. Head to the local organic Union Square Greenmarket to sample local goods like honey, maple syrup, and bread. A lot of affluent New Yorkers shop here, so you might even see some celebrities. The market offers a lot of vegetables and fruits, perfect for a small break. If you are not in the mood for a fresh apple, you can also get a cinnamon muffin or a blueberry pie. A muffin tastes even better when you know you just supported a local farmer or baker.
Green rooftop bars
Supporting sustainability in New York while going to a bar? It all might sound too good to be true but a lot of rooftop bars have changed the look of New York by using plants. A green roof helps to lower temperatures and even creates a habitat for wildlife that you wouldn’t expect in the city. Apparently, plants even help to reduce stress – now I finally know why I find rooftop bars so relaxing! Although it might also be due to the amazing views and cold drinks.
A rooftop bar is always worth a visit during your sustainable New York trip. Go to Gallow Green in Chelsea for brunch, dinner, or cocktails and find yourself surrounded by countless plants. Not in the mood to line up in a queue in the evening? Take the Rooftop Bar Tour in New York then! You’ll enjoy great views of Manhattan including three free drinks – no queueing necessary. You also won’t have to worry about which of the countless bars you should visit. The tour will take you to the hottest rooftop bars in town and thanks to the tour you won’t have to be afraid that entrance will be denied.
Sleep with a quiet conscience
There are quite some hotels in New York that offer a conscious stay and take pride in being sustainable. The good news is that you won’t have to pay extra for this, as not only high-end hotels strive to be environmentally friendly. Yotel, for example, is a great choice if you want to sleep in a hotel with an eco-label but don’t want to spend your whole budget on the hotel. Yotel’s motto even is “Reduce, reuse, recycle”! They use occupancy sensors for heating, lighting, and air conditioning, reduce their paper usage to a minimum, and are always thinking about how they can give back to nature. Another eco-friendly hotel in New York is the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, which is 100% wind powered and 54% of its materials are locally produced or reclaimed. That way, you can start your day with a quiet conscience.