We are pleased to welcome guest writer Kristen Kidd from the outdoor lifestyle, gardening and lawn care blog at Lawnstarter for this feature.

Image of a sunflower in an urban garden with other plants and vegetables, nyc skyline and bridge in the background

NYC is starting a green revolution of environmentally-friendly practices (Photo credit: Preston Keres, USDA)

It takes only a New York minute to find eco-friendly places in the Big Apple. The city is one of the greenest in the nation, thanks to compact living and public transportation. If you’re of the eco-friendly persuasion and are looking for spots and activities to make you feel at home, read on for nine ways you can be an eco-warrior in New York City.

1.Take Public Transportation

Even though it’s not the absolute lowest carbon footprint way to get around the city, mass transit is still a very green choice. New York City mass transit helps keep over 17 million tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere each year. So on your next trip, skip the cabs and opt for the eco-friendlier subway and buses.

Image of Central Park with fall foliage on tress and pond with NYC skyline in the background

NYC’s tree-filled parks add oxygen to the air and provide a habitat for wildlife (Photo credit: pxhere)

  1. Appreciate Nature in NYC Parks

Spend some time appreciating and learning about nature in one of NYC’s many lovely parks. The city hosts educational programs throughout the five boroughs so you can learn about growing your own vegetables, making herbal remedies and even meet some composting goats!

Image of the elevated railroad tracks planted with plants and flowers that make up Manhattan’s Highline Park

A creative idea turned abandoned railroad tracks into an elevated green oasis in the city Photo credit: David Berkowitz [CC BY ]

The Highline is a great example of repurposing. This elevated park loved by New Yorkers and tourists alike is built on abandoned railroad tracks that were once and eyesore in the middle of the city. Now these revived tracks provide a calming trail of greenery and flowers offering a habitat for birds and providing oxygen and shady spots for human city-dwellers. If you’re a nature lover there are also plenty of weekend escapes you can take to immerse yourself in nature that are a quick hop from the city.

Image of a man gesturing to enter his pedicab in Central Park for a ride

Take a pedicab and keep fuel fumes out of the urban air (Photo credit: Elvert Xavier Barnes Photography cc by-sa 2.0)

  1. Opt for Alternative Modes of Transportation

One of the best ways to see the most famous park in New YorkCity is also one of the most environmentally friendly. Pedicabs are completely people-powered, which makes them super green. They are also relaxing, fun and affordable. You’ll find pedicabs throughout Central Park in case you feel like putting your feet up and enjoying the breeze for awhile.

Image of living room with wood coffee table and plants with dining area and kitchen in the background in Upper East Side furnished rental NY-17624

Rent this Upper East Side furnished apartment (NY-17624) and you can enjoy nearby Central Park anytime

Renting a furnished apartment like this 1 bedroom furnished rental on Manhattan’s Upper East Side means the beauty of Central Park is just a stroll away from your doorstep. The apartment is designed with natural wood furnishings and indoor greenery for an eco-conscious vibe while the building has a planted rooftop sundeck with spectacular city views!

Image of a line of blue Citi Bikes parked waiting for rental

Citi Bikes can be found throughout NYC and are an eco-conscious way to commute around (Photo credit: Shinya Suzuki CC by-ND 2.0)

Citi Bikes are another eco-friendly way to get around NYC. You’ll find them docked throughout the boroughs so you can grab one and bike to your next destination, doing your part for the environment and getting your workout in at the same time.

Image of people shopping in the Union Square farmers market with stalls of vegetables around and NYC buildings in the background

Head to NYC’s farmers markets where you’ll find the freshest produce while supporting local farmers (Photo credit: Postdlf cc by 3.0)

  1. Shop Local Farmers Markets

Another way to keep in shape is eating healthy. What’s more comforting to the environmentally conscious than a display of locally farmed produce? Urban farming is becoming more efficient and refined every year, and farmers who market in New York City are learning to make the most of every inch of growing space. Supporting urban farms is a fantastic way to help them bring great, responsibly produced food to local communities. It’s also a tried and true way to find delicious vegetables. You’ll find a garden full of fresh produce at one of the farmers markets in any of the five boroughs. Stop by and support our local farms, bring back some fresh ingredients to your furnished rental and prepare a healthy meal in the convenience of your kitchen.

Image of a person wearing a straw hat bending over to tend to vegetables planted in a roof garden with NYC buildings in the background

In densely-populated NYC, urban farmers head to the rooftops! Photo credit: Ru-Shin Shieh [CC BY-SA ]

Urban farmers need to be creative with space and in a heavily populated city the only direction is up, so gardens have headed for the rooftops! Other buildings have added outdoor space with greenery to soak up carbon dioxide and provide oxygen. You can find many of our furnished rentals in buildings with rooftop terraces where residents can enjoy the outdoors, have a BBQ and soak up some sunshine.

Image of Barclays Center in Brooklyn with a green roof covered in low plants

Everyone’s getting into the game of eco-friendly construction like the green roof of Barclays Center in Brooklyn (Photo credit: Rhododendrites CC BY-SA 4.0)

  1. Visit Environmentally Conscious Buildings

Even NYC’s landmarks and commercial buildings have gone green. Did you know St. Patrick’s Cathedral has a cutting-edge geothermal heating and cooling system that drastically cuts carbon emissions? The temperatures of ten underground wells are used to heat and cool this masterpiece of Gothic architecture.

While the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn hosts concerts and sporting events, its 3-acre green roof has environmental and noise-reducing benefits thanks to the sedum plants that cover it.

The Jacob Javits Convention Center has a 6.75 acre green roof that insulates the building helping it cut energy use while absorbing stormwater and attracting wildlife including 29 bird species, thousands of bees and 5 bat species! Check out their website to watch their live roof and bee cams or schedule a tour and see it in person.

Image of a salad with lettuce, avocado, tangerine slices and figs on it

NYC’s restaurants offer an array of healthy, eco-friendly choices Photo credit: Marco Verch (https://foto.wuestenigel.com/) cc by 2.0

  1. Grab a Sustainable Bite

Few places in the country offer more or better food options than NYC. Whether you’re looking for grass-fed beef, vegan stir-fry, or a meal of meat substitutes, you’ll find it here. New York is home to a whole host of farm-to-table and eco-friendly restaurants that source from local farms. On average, you may pay a little more to be an eco-warrior, but isn’t it worth saving the planet?

 Image of a botanical garden greenhouse with a pond in the foreground and water lilies

Surround yourself with beauty while learning about urban gardens at one of the botanical gardens in NYC Photo credit: King of Hearts [CC BY-SA]

  1. Discover NYC’s Glorious Gardens

You have several eco-friendly gardens to choose from in New York City. Check out the Bee Garden at the Queens Botanical Garden. You’ll find a collection of flowers and plants that attract the insect that’s crucial to our environment.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden features several gardens. Learn how to design your own rain garden, even on a small plot of land. It’s an excellent ways to catch and filter the stormwater runoff from the pavement.

You can find local community gardens tucked in among the city’s buildings providing much-needed spots to relax and recharge away from the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle. From flowers to vegetable patches, bee hives and koi ponds, you never know what you’ll find.

The East Village of Manhattan has plenty of secret gardens to discover. This 1 bedroom East Village furnished rental locates you near many of them in a pet-friendly building with a landscaped rooftop terrace and a lush serenity garden to unwind in, perfect for the nature lover. You’ll have the convenience of a washer/dryer in the apartment and a private balcony where you can grow some herbs or organic vegetables to use in your cooking.

  • Image of a NYC Recycles poster explaining how to separate recyclables and graphics of what to recycle and a flyer about a ban on single use plastic bags
    NYC’s recycling program saves tons of waste from heading to landfills (Photo credit: www1.nyc.gov)
  1. Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

Recycling in New York City is the law. Help do your part to reduce waste by separating recyclables like paper, metal, plastic and glass and placing them in the proper bins for pickup. Failure to do so results in tickets and fines, so be sure to abide by your buildings recycling rules.

You can help reduce waste by composting your food scraps. NYC has food scrap drop- off sites citywide or brown bins at each building where you can deposit your fruit and vegetable scraps, eggs shells, coffee grinds, and yard clippings to be composted and used to fertilize parks and gardens around the city.

Starting March 1, 2020 single use plastic bags are banned in NYC and paper bags will cost 5 cents each. Save the environment and buy a reusable shopping bag to bring with you when shopping.

Image of bedroom in furnished rental NY-15373 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn with indoor plants around the room and colorful bohemian decor

This furnished rental in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn brings the green indoors and has a lovely outdoor garden space

  1. Practice Green Living in a Furnished Apartment

Doing your part to save the environment starts at home — even if it’s a home away from home. Whether you’re in a short-term vacation rental or leasing a furnished apartment like this 4 bedroom furnished rental in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn filled with plants and access to a shared garden, you can help reduce global warming by using less electricity, water, heat, and fuel to get from place to place. You can go a step further by using energy-efficient lightbulbs or let the skylights fill the space with natural sunlight.

Renting a furnished apartment lets you skip the waste of water involved in daily hotel linen changes. Whether you are using this furnished rental’s washing machine or at the neighborhood laundromat, using cold water to wash your clothes and a drying rack instead of a dryer saves energy. If you have the perk of a dishwasher in your apartment like this one, make sure it’s full before you run it and allow dishes to air dry to save energy and water. Don’t forget to turn off lights and air conditioning when you go out, you’ll help the environment and save a ton of money on electric bills!

Unlike other places, NYC tap water is not only drinkable, it comes from the beautiful Catskill Mountains in upstate New York with some of the best water in the world, so skip the bottled water waste and drink water right from the faucet.

Image of various small potted green plants indoors

All you need is a window sill to start your own plant, vegetable or herb garden (Photo credit: pexels)

Forget about what you’ve heard about the concrete jungle, New York City is a battlefront in the war against global warming! New York Habitat’s experienced agents can help find a furnished apartment, vacation rental or apartment share that fits your eco-friendly lifestyle. Whether you’re looking for an apartment with outdoor space, proximity to a park or a Citi Bike docking station for an eco-conscious commute, send a request through our website and we’ll find the perfect rental for the eco warrior in you!