New York is not the first place to come to mind when thinking about green cities, but it does offer responsible tourists plenty of ways to get involved and give back to ongoing green initiatives. Some of the surrounding areas also have some cool eco initiatives going on, so why not scope out the region while participating in some valuable community projects?
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New York City
NYC has some hip hotels that embrace excellent eco initiatives, and offers farm-to-table fare at some of its trendiest restaurants. Start with Union Square Café, Rosemary’s and ABC Kitchen for inventive yet simple cuisine.
If you’re super adventurous and an experienced cyclist, you can rent a Citi Bike and zip around some of the city’s coolest neighborhoods, or take the less hair-raising route and pedal through Central Park.
Tourists can also spend a day volunteering at The New York Restoration Project and get involved in gardening, planting and tree care volunteer opportunities that change seasonally.
If you’re looking to shop sustainably Eco Cult recommends checking out Reformation, which has two locations downtown, one in SOHO and one on the Lower East Side. The site also favors Kaight, Bhoomki, Swords-Smith, Love Adorned, 10 Ft Single by Stella Dallas, and Catbird all located in Brooklyn, and International Playground, What Goes Around Comes Around and Shareen in SoHo.
While in Brooklyn stop by the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, a 6,000-square-foot organic vegetable garden, which operates its own seasonal farmers market and provides produce to local restaurants including Anella’s, Spritzenhaus and Marlow & Sons. Visitors can volunteer and learn about urban agriculture from the site’s Growing Chefs-trained education team. Co-created by Broadway Stages and Good Green, the garden overlooks Manhattan from across the East River. (EcoWatch)
Only a one-hour train ride away, Princeton is a charming town brimming with farm-to-table restaurants, yoga studios and organic farms. The best way to navigate the town is on foot, so not to miss the small niche coffee shops brewing single origin, fair trade beans, or the eclectic boutiques selling handmade jewelry, organic clothing and used records. Spend an afternoon volunteering at Orchard Farms, which also offers a WWOOFing program for those who want a more immersive experience.
Only a two-hour ride from New York City, Philly has myriad options for travelers looking to get involved in green community initiatives while experiencing the best of what the city has to offer. Emerald Street Urban Farm is a community-run farm that welcomes volunteers with open arms. Be sure to check out one of the farm’s workshops on composting, nutrition, and food preservation. Hungry? Stop by the Farm and Fisherman, Fork and M Restaurant for some of the city’s best dishes prepared with organic, local ingredients. Walk off your meal as you stroll through the classical English landscape structures and sculpture gardens at Morris Arboretum, a 92-acre Victorian arboretum in the Northwestern corner of Philadelphia. Watch for birds as you enjoy the elegant beauty of the 19th-century grounds, complete with a formal rose garden, majestic old trees and unusual plants from North America, Asia, Africa and Europe. A treasured site for horticulturists, the Morris Arboretum includes an excellent collection of outdoor sculpture, including works by such well-known artists as George Rickey, Scott Burton, George Sugarman and Richard Torchia. (Morris Arboretum)
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Feature photo of brooklyn bridge via shutterstock.