The New Yorker’s David Owen recently made the case that the Big Apple is the most eco-friendly in the US – without even trying! And while Flagship “sustainable living” websites such as Treehugger.com have long argued that urban living is one of the greenest ways to save the earth without personal conviction, New York meetings are indeed putting a major effort toward “going green”.
Here are 5 things we are doing to create “sustainably” successful meetings in 2010:
Innovative “city farms”: Just like Michelle Obama’s White House garden is being harvested for tonight’s state dinner, New York City has been developed some really unique gardens of our own. Rooftop farms have popped up throughout all five boroughs and in Queens, food distributors are contracting with homeowners who have backyard spaces to plant and grow specific crops.
“Green” City breweries and Wineries: Manhattan and Brooklyn have become emerging hubs for some of the hottest beverage options in the US. Instead of importing expensive wines from other parts of the country or world, meetings can now arrange tasting events at loft-style wineries right in the city and for team-building events, new wine schools are opening throughout the area that enable a corporate group to make and custom label their own varietal – without the grape stomping!
Hotels aim for “zero-sum” footprints: Manhattan’s hotels are at the forefront of the sustainable guest experience. Some of the new boutique hotels have developed actual formulas that offset a guest’s footprint, other venues donate portions of room rates to green organizations, and we have worked closely with the entire local hospitality industry toward encouraging use of the city’s world-class mass transit system. We have managed several recent meetings where attendees were given pre-paid MetroCards for downtime travel around New York.
“Tap” It for Water: It doesn’t get much press, but New York City’s tap water is ranked by experts as the country’s purest. More and more hospitality venues are teaming with leading environmental groups to reduce bottled water in the trash and some are partnering with non-profits such as “Tapit” Water to create tap water portals in high-end restaurants and hotels throughout Manhattan.
Bikes over buses: Meetings groups who want to see all of Manhattan’s beauty are opting for guided bike tours as alternative to double-decker buses. We have arranged custom Central Park tours that make meeting attendees feel they have entered a completely pristine world away from 8 million people – and tours along Riverside Park offer spectacular Hudson River views with the entire skyline off to the side.