• GreenVoyage


Updated: Jun 29, 2020

An overview of my recent Holiday experience in NYC straight after being fully immersed in the nature of Banff.

I can't believe it is already the New Year! I started out this December going to Banff, then to NYC and back to the West Coast for the holidays. The transition from a complete nature splendor (Banff) to one of the biggest cities in the world (New York City), was one that I did not expect to be so difficult.

When I booked this trip, I imagined the mix of snow at Banff and Christmas lights in NYC would get me pumped for Christmas and New Years, and although it did, I left feeling a little disappointed in New York.

I went in looking for the sustainable aspects of the city, and I found them. What I also found is the intense consumeristic culture and sidewalks filled with trash. This killed it for me. Don't get me wrong, I still think the city has a lot of enchantment, I know it is there, it's just that this trip I didn't fully see it.

For tourists, visiting New York can be very wasteful, but for people that live there it can be the complete opposite. New York's extravagance attracts millions of tourists every year, raising the cost of living and expenses. This offers locals an opportunity to live a very sensible and sustainable way of life.

For locals, everything is so expensive, that eating out can be ridiculous. People are forced to live in tiny apartments, with roommates, reducing their carbon footprint. And, having a car is an outlandish idea, so everyone either walks or takes the subway.

I learned a lot about myself and the city on this trip. I also remembered some things that may help you on your next city adventures.

  • I could never live in a big city again. There is always noise, non stop, and I like the special kind of beauty that comes from being able to step away and hear nothing. This is impossible in NYC.

  • When you go to a coffee shop, make sure that the baristas know you are there to stay. This will reduce your single use plastic. If you use a regular plate and cup, and this needs to be washed, the effects are a lot less on our environment than if you use a plastic cup once (which will never decompose).

  • Manhattan does not have a good way of managing its trash (they just throw it on the side of the road!).

  • New York is still a must see place, but when you are there, go to sightsee - NOT to shop or overly consume.

  • If you do shop, consider if the item is something you truly need, not just want. And try going to thrift stores because the second hand merchandise in NY is top notch.

  • If you do eat out you HAVE to go to Ben's Cookies...they have regular chocolate chip cookies but also some with a GIANT chocolate chip in the middle.

  • When you visit, don't forget to see The MET. I have gone to New York over 8 times, and never went until this most recent trip. Once there, I could not believe I had overlooked it. There was an original Egyptian Temple in the museum that was reconstructed from the first century B.C. - my brain can't even fathom this!

  • My mind needs the outdoors - leaving me to go to Central Park almost every day of my stay.

Prior to this trip when I thought of New York, all I could see was Karaoke Bars, 5 star restaurants, and shopping. After this December 2019 voyage, I see the ways sustainability does and does not have a place in New York. If New York City is a place you want to visit, consider ways that you can offset your trip. It can be so easy once you are there to overlook being sustainable, but it is possible. Focus on activities and sightseeing over shopping and visiting the mall. Bring a reusable water bottle, and take the subway or walk anywhere you go. This can make for a really fun and much more interesting trip.

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