Return to the Big Green Apple

November 25, 2008 at 4:53 pm 3 comments

new_york

Ah, New York. I’ve been away for nigh on a year, now, and it’s good to be back. Despite the cold, wet November day, despite being unemployed during an economic crisis, and despite the sad reality that I still haven’t found my own place yet (I’m crashing at my sisters’ place), I really am happy to have returned to this massive, colorful city of opportunity.

Over the past eight months I’ve visited about 40 US states and a couple of Mexican and Canadian provinces, and as much as I enjoyed the beauty and diversity of this great continent, no place I saw could compare to New York City. Including the Grand Canyon.

What is it I love about New York? There are several answers to this question:

1. It’s my home. Although I was raised in Massachusetts, I’ve been living here (on and off) since I was 19, much of my family and many of my closest friends are here, and I consider this city my “home base”.

2. It’s wicked diverse. There are people from everywhere here, and everyone lives side-by-side in peace and harmony with respect for one another. And there are about a million hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurants with the best food you’ve ever had.

3. It’s easy to be green here. A lot of people think of New York as a big, dirty city with trash everywhere and millions of tons of carbon pumping into the air each day. This is basically true, however, living in the city is really a lot greener than living in the suburbs or the country. In the city I ride the subway, along with 54% of New Yorkers. When I’m not riding the subway, I’m walking, or riding my bike. Recycling is easy and mandatory here – they even recycle the trash collected on subway platforms. I shop for food at one of the City’s 50 Greenmarkets, and when I can’t find something I need, I’m always within about a mile of a natural foods store. Like most people, I live in an apartment building, which means I share heat with my neighbors and therefore conserve energy that is lost in detached houses.

New York isn’t the greenest city in the country – that title goes to Portland, Oregon. But we were ranked the 20th greenest city by Popular Science back in February. And 20th ain’t bad, but the City’s going to get even greener. There are numerous environmental initiatives underway in New York, including non-profits and government institutions. I know this, because I’ve recently applied for jobs at most of them (please hire me, someone!). What’s more, the Mayor is serious about greening up this place, and fast. He’s set on making NYC number 1 (watch out, Portland!), and has launched dozens of initiatives to make the City cleaner, greener and healthier than any other.

So that’s why, even on a crappy day like this, sitting in my sisters’ kitchen, in the middle of a weekday, I can smile about being back in the City. I love New York.

Here are some awesome NYC Environmental Projects to check out:

Council on the Environment of New York City (the Mayor’s environmental initiative)

East New York Farms

Freecycle New York City

Lower East Side Ecology Center

New York Restoration Project

Transportation Alternatives

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Entry filed under: conservation, rant time. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. skyminor  |  November 25, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    That’s some big apple love. My question is why do people from 212 seem to universally revile 213 (L.A?)

    Reply
  • 2. gwen  |  November 25, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    I’m actually a 718 (Brooklyn), but I’m not sure about the 212 vs 213 thing. Maybe we’re each others evil twins or something? What I do know, is that LA has a pretty sad public transit system, and no number of celebrity hybrid-drivers can make up for it.

    Reply
  • 3. Kerry Trueman  |  November 25, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Allow me to tackle the 212 v 213 thing…I grew up in LA and couldn’t wait to move to NY precisely because I resented the fact that you couldn’t get anywhere without a car. Buses and biking will only get you so far in a city that’s literally a hundred miles long.

    Life in NYC is intense but great, thanks for the valentine to my adopted home!

    Reply

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