Infinite rectilinear avenues in which myriads of yellow taxis smoking and honking. A perpetual light, colored by flashy signs. And these omnipresent smells that escape from food trucks like garbage accumulating on the sidewalks … Wandering in the city-universe of New York, difficult to apprehend the side "green and zen"! And yet, in this megalopolis of nearly 9 million souls, more and more people want to calm the game, to take the time to eat better, breathe better. To try other ways of life, more respectful of the environment and the rhythms of nature.
A green infatuation that is perceived in the very heart of Big Apple, in its plant lung that is now Central Park rid of cars. A true revolution for New Yorkers accustomed to noise and car pollution, the huge urban park has been banned from cars since the summer of 2018. Its 340 hectares have been returned to walkers, cyclists, skateboarders and other joggers. A promise from the mayor, Bill de Blasio, who has decided to tackle air pollution to put New York at the top of the cities "eco-citizens" of the planet.
Central Park is more than ever an urban oasis that can be discovered in the morning by opening its chakras with Cindy and Mike of Fit Tours NYC. This New York couple offers sunrise yoga sessions. But no need to be a seasoned practitioner. This is a walk during which we realize yoga figures while learning anecdotes about the park. Thus, by performing the sun salutation on a large block of rock, Cindy will explain that it is shale. That the basement of Manhattan is riddled with it. And that it is thanks to this very dense stone that one could erect so high and heavy buildings! An ideal urban yoga session to chase jet-lag in the early morning and prepare for the discovery of a greener New York …
The "Greenvolution" That touches Central Park is thus embodied in the High Line, this old railway, long abandoned, reconverted in green way. It is today one of the most visited sites of New York! Opened about ten years ago, the High Line Park stretches for more than 2 kilometers and meanders between buildings. There are dozens of insect families and more than 500 plant species lovingly cared for by a team of gardeners … who must now find their way among the crowd of walkers who adore this astonishing flow.
The last part of the High Line is in the Hudson Yards area. Next spring, the walk will lead to a sort of clearing consisting of large trees forming a plant vault, giving access to a public square. A new meeting place for New Yorkers looking for greenery. This part of Manhattan is also at the forefront of "urban greening" as the Javits Convention Center, at the end of the High Line, has the second largest green roof in the United States. A real ornithological reserve that allows 26 species of birds to nest again in the city. You can discover this haven of nature during guided tours.
On foot or by bike
But for some New Yorkers, these little touches of green are not enough. And we have to get out of Manhattan to find more radical initiatives. Take the ferry to Governors Island, for example. A small mound of land south of the Financial District that has long been home to the Coast Guard Corps. Recently, the island has been returned to New York City, which wants to make it an ecological recreation area. Cars are forbidden and you can walk or rent a bike. Last summer opened the Collective Retreats, the first offer of "Glamping" from New York – understand glamorous camping -, consisting of pretty little tents scattered on a green lawn. In the morning, when we wake up, we salute Miss Liberty who faces you, off. And we contemplate the New York skyline feet in the fresh grass. The Collective Retreats has had phenomenal success and will reopen in the spring. Remember to book early, these nights "in the country" seduce New Yorkers who rush in droves!
On Governors Island, there are also "plant activists" who grow vegetables and flowers. The Grow NYC Association has set up an urban farm where you can buy your vegetables at weekends and frolic among the flowers, while cursing the rounds of helicopters that revolve around Manhattan, as if to remind you that the city is never far away Earth Matter's neighbors are recycling food waste for composting, distributed to all New Yorkers who want to grow a piece of macadam. And they are more and more numerous.
To be convinced, return to Manhattan, in the East Village, long poor and disinherited. Today the neighborhood is being gentrified, there are nearly 600 community gardens. From the protest and protest movement of the 70s, they were raised on wastelands and we now come to read under a tree or learn how to harvest honey. To learn all about these urban gardens, visit the microscopic Museum of Urban Space Reclaimed, led by a handful of environmental activists. Bill Di Paola, the co-founder of this counterculture mecca, will tell you how he helped drive the cars out of Central Park. You will also find a map of the neighborhood gardens and can register for guided tours …
Even more green? Cross the bridges that connect Manhattan to Brooklyn! There, initiatives abound. In Gowanus 'booming neighborhood, Whole Foods, the hipsters' favorite food brand, built the first and largest urban farm on the roof of a supermarket. Nearly 2000 m2 are grown 500 tons of vegetables that can be purchased under the Gotham Greens brand. Visits are organized on Wednesdays. The rest of the time, you can always have a look at the huge greenhouse from the rooftop cafeteria.
A vineyard on Brooklyn's rooftops
On the banks of the East River, at the foot of a former sugar refinery about to be rehabilitated into luxury apartments with breathtaking views of Manhattan, the Domino Park, inaugurated last summer, is a new Eden where we just bask on the grass. Urban farmers have opened North Brooklyn Farms, where they grow vegetables and plants. All visitors are welcome. These asphalt farmers assure it, they will go elsewhere when the real estate they squat advance. The city is full of these "urban holes" in which to plant their seeds …
They follow the example of their elders who have made New York a global incubator of urban farms, like Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, in the Greenpoint neighborhood. Nestled at the top of a building, this farm was one of the first to grow vegetables right in Brooklyn. We can visit the 500 m2 vegetable gardens on Sundays in the summer and on open days announced on their Facebook page.
These precursors have since been surpassed by the gardeners of the Brooklyn Grange and their 6,000 m2 hoisted on the roof of a former Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse. They grow more than 5 tons of fruits and vegetables a year, found in a handful of restaurants and organic stores engaged. Guided tours of this "urban barn" are organized on Saturdays. On the same site, climb the stairs to Rooftop Reds, where Devin Shomaker grows … vine! One comes first and foremost to enjoy a glass of wine from the vineyards of the State of New York, with some tapas. The 168 vines that Devin planted were harvested for the first time this fall. The young manager intends to produce the first bottles of wine "made in New York City". And, as being a city winegrower does not exclude being a businessman, Devin plans to sell every bottle … $ 1,000! New York will always be New York.
With XL Airways, the French company offers good deals that connect Paris to New York at the best price (ticket from 345 euros), hold baggage and hot meal are included. The company is committed to reducing the weight of its planes to consume less fuel.www.xl.com
In a relationship with :The 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, recently opened, is very engaged in the "green attitude" (green wall in the lobby, plants in the rooms, etc.). Its rooms offer an exceptional view of the bridge and from its rooftop terrace you can admire the Manhattan skyline. Sumptuous! Room from 300 euros. www.1hotels.com
Between friends :The Williamsburg Hotel houses, in a beautiful industrial building, very elegant rooms. It offers yoga classes and bicycles. Its rooftop terrace, with pool and bar, is one of Brooklyn's most popular hangouts. Room from 190 euros. www.thewilliamsburghotel.com
Between colleagues:The Aka Wall Street, in Manhattan, is a hotel-residence that has small upscale apartments with kitchen and living room. Perfect for a business trip in the heart of New York's business district. Going to see his customers on foot, that's "green"! Room from 200 euros. www.stayaka.com
In a relationship with :The famous chef Tom Colicchio (juror of Top Chef USA) opened the River Park, a restaurant attached to a small urban farm where he grows vegetables and herbs. A very vegetal gourmet cuisine in an elegant atmosphere, perfect for a romantic dinner … www.riverparknyc.com
Between friends :Nestled on the roof of a Manhattan building, Gallow Green proposes the great classics of the American kitchen on a vegetated terrace. It's also the hotel's "Sleep no more" restaurant, the incredible immersive theater show that you have to visit in New York. www.mckittrickhotel.com
Between colleagues:In homesickness during a trip pro? Push the door Mum, a small chain of pretty restaurants that serve French pastries (and American!) and various refined salads in a very rustic atmosphere. www.mamannyc.com
To prepare your trip, visit the website, in French, of the New York tourist office. www.nycgo.com
5 things we do not know about the green New York
01. The Ansonia, a beautiful Haussmann-style building on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, was home to a small farmhouse on its roof at the beginning of the 20th century.e century. No doubt the first urban farm in New York.
02. Double inverted from the High Line, a Low Line has been tested in an old subway station. Mirrors reflecting the light of day allowed to grow plants. Despite the success of this "underground park", the project is at a standstill.
03. The Billion Oyster Project aims to plant millions of oysters in New York Bay to filter the waters. At the xixe century, there were so many oysters around Manhattan that it was the cheapest snack in the city!
04. Next to the famous yellow taxis, there are green taxis. These are not "clean" cars, the green color just signals that they are in service outside of Manhattan (Brooklyn, Bronx, etc.).
05. Being eco-responsible also means reducing waste. The Free Package Shop in Brooklyn sells products that can be used for life and without any packaging. A unique business of its kind.