Welcome to New York. It’s been waiting for you.
At least that’s what Taylor Swift claims. As for me, ever since I found out I was going to the Big Apple for work, I was hoping that great vegan food, eco-fashion and new acquaintances would indeed be waiting. Guess what? They were.
The training I was there to take allowed me to be my most social self during the days and I made some great connections! In addition to all the fun I was having, several people in the class were into eating healthy and two were living plant-based, meaning green lunch choices for the group. Yay.
Finding vegan options turned out to be as easy as I had hoped. Finding plastic-free, zero waste vegan, a bit harder, though definitely possible. Let me tell you about some of the places where I ate!
Vegan, Organic and Zero Waste
The first night, after a long walk through the city, I had a well-made meal at Blossom (21st and 9th) in Chelsea. Friendly staff, fast service, nice setting. And, I got to eavesdrop on a seriously millennial conversation one table over, while watching the street action outside the window. Pretty sweet. Yes, that also applies the two glasses of organic riesling I had.
The best food of the trip was at Candle 79 on the Upper East Side (79th and Lex.). I started with empanadas, followed by a chick-pea cake creation accompanied by delicious broccoli and cauliflower in a curry sauce. It was excellent and I highly recommend this place. A reservation is probably a good idea, though I got lucky and was seated right away. By the window again.
Vegan on the go
Because sooner or later, all New York visitors will find themselves in midtown, near Times Square fearing that Olive Garden is their only lunch choice – I’ll tell you, it’s not. Fresh and Co. is half a block away on 48th street (between 6th and 7th avenue) and they’ll mix you up an awesome salad. Though delicious and fresh, my salads (Gaucho and Falafel) were unfortunately tossed and served in a plastic bowl (I didn’t have a reusable one). I did fill my own bottle with tea, no problem.
Organic Soy Latte
Anyone else appalled by the super sweet soymilk at Starbucks? Pret A Manger is a much better choice if you ask me, and they’re all over town. I had an organic, unsweet soy latte there and of course reusable cups welcome. This chain donates all their left-over food at the end of each day to homeless shelters and food programs too. Waste not, want not.
On another eco note, I had four nights in the city and spent most of them walking around enjoying the scenery and the different neighborhoods. Why take a cab when you can walk, right?
One night while strolling down Highline Park, I suddenly had this idea to hit up Century 21 (the discount department store by World Trade Center). I hadn’t been there in years and was curious to see what made in USA or eco-friendly brands they might have (if any!).
A few minutes into browsing, I saw an Italian-made sweater by a designer I had never heard of before and decided to try it on. Instantly, it felt like mine. It fit just right and felt super comfy. Sold! Although it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I said “eco-fashion” and it didn’t really follow any of the rules I set up for this year’s shopping challenge, I still had to have it. Sometimes you just have to follow your heart and break the rules a little.
I hadn’t prepared much for this trip, however I still feel like I managed to make simple, eco-friendly choices throughout the visit. Like what, you say? Well, like:
- Enjoying vegan, organic food (the most eco-friendly, low carbon diet)
- Not using the hotel bath products (saving plastic)
- Not asking to have my sheets and towels changed every night (saving water, energy and cleaning products)
- Managing my drinking water, so there was no need to buy even a single water bottle (saving plastic and money)
- Carrying my new Italian sweater in my reusable bag (saving plastic)
- Walking or taking the subway instead of riding in taxis (less pollution)
- Carbon compensating my flights
- Stayed at a local boutique hotel to support small business
I had an amazing time and I wouldn’t change a thing, not even the breaking the rules part.
Indeed, it was all waiting for me in New York!
Read about my previous eco-friendly work trip to California here.
Sweater+me photo credit: Shutterluv by Ashley.