A Sustainable Day in New York City

I hope you’ve all had a fabulous summer so far! If you’ve kept up to date with my blog posts and Instagram posts, you’ll know that I’ve been traveling all over the place. Today I wanted to make a twist to my usual travel posts; I wanted to link travel to something that is really important to me, environmental protection.

This blog is a place where we build a global community and share our expat stories, and I believe that while I am blessed with this wonderful platform, I have a responsibility to speak up about important issues to me, issues that can be improved by spreading awareness. One of those such issues that I write about frequently on my blog is environmental protection; I won’t go into depth about the specifics of sustainability and the environment here, as I’ve written other posts about them (you can read some here). But I asked myself, how can I make sustainability more accessible to my readers? It’s all very well that I write about the importance of these issues, but if I don’t give my readers a way forward, then how is it useful?

I was brainstorming ideas on how to make sustainability accessible to you guys in a fun way, not something you see all the time, and it hit me! Why don’t I link sustainability to something I already write about a lot: travel! My travel posts are some of my most popular posts, and while I won’t pretend to be a perfect human, whenever I’m on a trip I always make a conscious effort to make environmentally cautious decisions. I know as well as you guys that it can be really hard to be sustainable while on vacation, you’re not in your home and you don’t have access to the resources that you usually do, but that is why I want to create these travel guides for you: to make sustainable travel a little more accessible.

So welcome to the start of a new series! Whenever I visit a new place I will do my best to create an environmentally friendly travel guide for you. You guys can comment your environmentally-friendly recommendations and request places you want me to create sustainable travel guides for. So… without further ado, here is your sustainable travel guide to New York City!

Start your morning with a cooling drink of water… but from where?                               

I visited New York in the summer, and it was hot! I always carry around my reusable water bottle so that I can have a drink when I need it and I don’t have to buy plastic bottles, but a problem always occurs when I finish the water in my bottle. Where can I fill it up? When you’re traveling, you usually don’t know the area super well, so it’s not like you can just stop by a cafe you know and ask them to fill up your water bottle. And if you’re walking around all day, at a theme park, or by the beach it’s really important to stay hydrated! I stumbled across an amazing app this summer called Tap, honestly, this app was just what I was looking for! It finds your location on a map and tells you all the water bottle refill stations near you, perfect! This app also works in other countries, not just the U.S. so you should definitely take a look to see if there are any stations near you. It’s so useful to have something like this, especially when you are traveling!

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Take a walk to explore the area… and bring a reusable tote bag

I’ve said it in many of my travel guides, the best way to discover a new city is on foot. You’re able to walk past places that you wouldn’t get to see if you just drove everywhere. I usually stay in SoHo when I visit New York, but this time I stayed on the Upper East Side (does this remind anyone else of gossip girl?) and my family and I walked all the way down to Broadway on our first morning; we got to explore a place we hadn’t really seen before and we worked off our delicious breakfast. Be sure to bring a reusable tote bag with you so that if you see any stores you want to buy something from, you don’t have to use a plastic bag, in fact, most stores don’t use plastic bags anymore but charge you extra if you use one of their tote bags. (fun fact: New York is actually officially banning plastic bags, but it won’t be effective until March 2020). Either way, bringing your own bag is a more environmentally friendly alternative and it’s cheaper.

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A picnic and a bike ride around Central Park

I love being in parks, I just enjoy being surrounded by greenery, and I also LOVE FOOD, so a picnic in the park is the ideal activity for me! Our hotel allowed us to order a picnic basket from them that we could take to Central Park, and it was wonderful. (credits to my dad for surprising us with this!) I know… eating lunch in the park doesn’t actively help the planet, but I think it’s important to reconnect with nature and this planet so that we feel more passionate about taking action. While we were eating our picnic lunch we noticed lots of families cycling around the park, I didn’t try this myself, but it looked fun! There are lots of places nearby where you can rent a bike, and there are lots of places that will guide you on a bike tour of NYC (again, I didn’t try any of them this time, but it looks like it could be fun)

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Take the subway to Brooklyn: the home of all things sustainable

I’ve been to New York many times, but I had never visited Brooklyn before this trip. While I was researching environmentally-friendly places to visit for this post, all of them seemed to be in Brooklyn, so I thought that it would be worth taking a trip there. Brooklyn has lots of really cute stores and boutiques to wander through, and some really good cafes and restaurants. While I was in Brooklyn I knew I had to visit the Package Free Shop, I’d been following their Instagram for ages and I really like what they are doing. You don’t need lots of expensive gadgets and appliances to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle… but some of them do help. The Package Free Shop sells all kinds of things to help you be a little more sustainable; I got some reusable straws and bags that I use all the time and needed to replaced. They even do in-store recycling of electronics, cleaning supply waste etc… Another store I visited in Brooklyn and I LOVED, was Soap Cherie. I would go as far as saying that their products are the best ones I’ve ever used, they just smell so good and leave my skin feeling refreshed. All their products are handmade from organic ingredients, paraben-free, vegan, and cruelty-free, so it’s a win-win! I would 100% recommend taking a look at their site here.

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Grab some vegan dinner at By Chloe

I’m personally not a vegan, but we can all do our part to eat a meat-free meal once in a while, and By Chloe is definitely the place to go for your vegan fix. I’ve been there so many times and I love it. If you’re headed there you NEED to try the Mac n’ cheese and their air baked fries – so good! They have multiple locations around NYC, so just head to their site to find the nearest one to you.

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I hope you enjoyed this environmentally friendly travel guide! I only spent a weekend in NYC, so next time hopefully I visit for longer and I can try more environmentally friendly places/activities. Please let me know in the comments if you like these sustainable travel guides! Let me know if you have any recommendations for me of places to go to or stores to check out! And let me know of any cities you want me to make a travel guide for!

See you next week,

Little Miss Expat

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