Low-Carb(on) NYC Weekend with Teens, Part 1
Senior editor Norie Quintos recently visited New York City with her teenage sons, trying to go as green as possible. Here’s her report:
Getting there: The train, the most eco (as well as the most comfortable) way to go, was too expensive, so we took one of the many inter-city buses that ply the busy DC-New York corridor. Public buses are an excellent green option, and the one we booked, a double-decker Megabus, was modern, clean, and offered free Wi-Fi. Promotional rates start at $1 (good luck getting that rate) but typically go for about $20 one-way. On a five-hour ride, you’ll likely get hungry; pack a sandwich and bottled water. We saw someone get on with a large takeout pizza.
Where to stay: We booked a room at the Westin New York at Times Square,
currently one of the greenest hotels in the city, though the experience from the guest’s standpoint was not much different than any big-city hotel. What we noticed were a paperless check-in and check-out procedure, energy-efficient CFL or LED lights used throughout, low-flow (but still forceful!) toilets, and an in-room recycling bin for paper, cardboard, and plastic. Behind the scenes, the hotel has instituted a host of best practices, including timers on ice machines and other equipment, printers set to double-sided printing as the default, and use of environmentally friendly cleaning products. The hotel is currently offering a “Go Green” package (through May 31, 2009) for $349 per night for up to four people in a junior suite, including free wireless Internet, health club, breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres, and unlimited nonalcoholic beverages, plus they’ll ship you a tree for planting upon your return back home to offset your carbon footprint (though we’re not sure if they’re offsetting their own footprint for the shipping of the tree).
The New York hotel scene is about to turn even greener with the openings later this year of New York City’s first hotels boasting the uber-eco LEED certification. Among the features at the renovated NoMad Hotel (opening fall 2009, Broadway at 28th) are automatic shades to regulate temperatures, canopies on the first three floors of the building to keep rooms cooler in the summer, and an energy-monitoring graph guests can access on their TVs to track the hotel’s energy efficiency in real time. At SoHo’s Crosby Street Hotel (opening winter 2009, 270 Lafayette St.), green features include bicycle racks, building materials gathered locally (within a 500-mile radius), and a “green”
roof with planted garden.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Check back tomorrow for the next installment of my low-carb weekend in New York: What to do and where to eat.
Photograph by Norie Quintos