New York is known for being on the cutting edge of everything, and eco-friendliness is no exception. In the past several years, the concrete playground of Wall Street tycoons and Broadway hopefuls alike made huge gains in sustainability. So whether your New York pleasure is warming up your credit card along 5th Avenue or bar hopping in the Meatpacking District, your trip doesn’t need to increase your carbon footprint.
Here are some great options for going green in NYC:
The Crosby Street Hotel in trendy SoHo was one of the first hotels in the city to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s Gold-level LEED certification. Even though you are only minutes away from some of the city’s hottest hotpots, as you step off the cobblestone street into the hotel’s drawing room and courtyard garden, you will forget you are in the middle of the country’s most crowded metropolis. The hotel earned its green credentials through its efforts toward reducing pollution (ask about the guest bicycles), maximizing water efficiency, and using local products (the Crosby Bar and Terrace features ingredients from the hotel’s rooftop garden).
The Starwood group committed to eco-friendliness with its line of Element hotels. The Times Square location features recycled everything, from construction materials to artwork. Energy efficient toilets, shampoo and conditioners from dispensers rather than bottles, filtered water, natural lighting, free bikes, and hybrid car charging stations round out the property’s green initiatives. The Element line now includes eleven hotels worldwide, with eleven more locations in the works.
The Hilton’s all-suite luxury Conrad New York is the first Gold-level LEED property in an existing building. In addition to implementing the standard roof garden, free bikes, LED lighting, and water efficiency measures, the Conrad’s green philosophy extends to the surrounding retail environment. With its NYC Pride and Equally Wed packages, the Conrad is also establishing itself as a premier LGBT travel destination.
Last year, the InterContinental became one of New York’s greenest buildings and one of the largest new hotels to receive LEED certification. The hotel features not one, but two, green rooftops, including a rooftop beehive for sourcing local honey. The on-site Ҫa Va Brasserie is also certified by the Green Restaurant Association. The hotel staff constantly strives for improvement by using big data to compare their conservation rates with those of hotels around the world.
Finally, for travelers looking for an off-island retreat, Long Island’s luxurious Viana Hotel and Spa is not only LEED Certified, but also feng shui, so you can pursue both environmental and inner harmony. This resort takes green to a whole new level with its roof insulation made of partially recycled soda bottles and 100 percent renewable energy systems in addition to LED lighting, efficient heating and cooling systems, and water efficiency. Guests even use a paperless process to check in and out.
Travel is not particularly known for being easy on the planet, but with new initiatives by airlines, hotels, and other companies, travelers now have many choices for green vacations, even in cities. For more information about these and other eco-friendly properties, visit the U.S. Green Building Council website as well as the websites of the individual hotels.
Featured image by Francisco Diez [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons