Senior editor Norie Quintos recently visited New York City with her teenage sons, trying to go as green as possible. Here’s Part 2 of her report. To see Part 1, click here.
What to do
We picked up bikes from Bike & Roll (from $10 per hour), which has several locations, including one at Pier 84 along Hudson River Park. New York’s Greenway is a bike-friendly series of linked waterfront parks that hug lower Manhattan. The kids loved the ride, filled as it was with pockets of green, waterside views, and joggers. It was sightseeing on steroids, just the way teens like it: We blew by Chelsea Piers, the Frank Gehry-designed IAC building which locals call “The Ice Cube,” the Meatpacking District, Battery Park City, the crane-dotted site of the World Trade Center, and ended up at Battery Park, just in time to lock up the bikes to get on the ferry for our rendezvous with Lady Liberty. After a relatively quick howdy-do (purchase your tickets online to cut the waiting time), it was back on the bikes for the ride back.
The rest of the time we walked or took the subway or bus everywhere, just like the locals. Parents: Pick up a subway map (available at hotels or subway stations), hand it to your teens, tell them where you want to go, and let them figure it out; it’s good for them.
Where to eat
Organic, vegetarian, and locally-sourced food are
increasingly available, so it’s easy to dine green in the Big Apple. A
couple of standouts:
With walls made out of wheat, cups made out of corn, shelves made out
of paper, and floors made out of reclaimed wood, this bakery’s
construction is as crunchy-granola as its organic confections,
which are baked on-site in its East Village location and sent by bike
rickshaw to its newest West Village location. My sons and I cycled in
(25 percent discount if you arrive by bike!) for a delicious and
healthful breakfast of coffee, milk, scones, and muffins, a locavore’s
delight. By the way, a low-carb(on) trip almost always means you don’t
have to go low-carb on your meals.
This unassuming place (6th Avenue and 14th Street) is one of the
greenest restaurants in the world and currently the only USDA
certified organic restaurant in the city. No chemicals; no hormones; no
antibiotics; no genetically modified organisms; and no artificial
additives. We came for lunch: the pizzas–deliciously thin and
crispy–were a big hit with my teen boys (and cheap at between $5 and
$9 a serving). Our agave-sweetened iced tea was refreshing (okay, one Lipton-loving son hated it). The restaurant is open for breakfast
and dinner too. Dishes tilt South American/European; understandably so,
as owner Alberto Gonzales hails from Argentina. Oh, and the Organicopia
doesn’t stop there; the place is a bar, too, serving organic beers
(Peak Organic Pale Ale), wines (Cotes du Rhone 2007), and cocktails
(martini made with Tru Vodka). And yes, the restaurant recycles,
- Nat Geo Expeditions
composts, prints with soy inks, uses solar and wind power, and plants a
tree for every cocktail you purchase on Tuesdays.
Next time: Our
Saturday morning at Union Square greenmarket was rained out; I’d like
to go back on a sunny day. I’d also like to go biking on Governors
Island, which hadn’t yet opened for the season. And the first section
of the long-awaited High Line–
a 1.5-mile abandoned elevated railway running along the West Side being
transformed into a public park–is opening in June. Check out these renderings. The Big Apple just keeps getting greener.
Plan your own low-carb trip: Get ideas at NYCgo.com’s green page or share yours by commenting below.
Photo: Sara Bremen at Birdbath Bakery in New York City’s West Village, by Norie Quintos.