Goodlifer’s Guide to Spontaneous Discoveries in NYC

Goodlifer: Earth Month in NYC

For me, Earth Month in New York City was filled with all new places to eat, sleep and talk wildly into the night in, (which is what a city like New York should be all about).

While it might seem a contradiction that one can lead a conscious, healthy lifestyle in a congested city like Manhattan, it’s actually extremely easy.

Let me make it absolutely clear, when I go into New York monthly, I am NOT looking to green my every move but I do have my favorite places to go. This time around I tried out some new spots to broaden my sustainable horizons and truly liked the new experiences.

Here’s what I came up with.
The Element Hotel
Three nights complimentary stay at the Element hotel in Midtown Manhattan while running around co-producing a fashion show for EILEEN FISHER at Green Festival was pure bliss. I loved feeling comfortable in the fact that I was staying in a hotel working to deepen its shade of green.

Element Hotel, NYC

The Element is the only major hotel brand to mandate that all properties pursue LEED certification and the staff at the Element took me on a tour to show me some of the things they do intend to work on. To be fair and upfront, the hotel does NOT have that certification yet and does have some work to do to back some of their claims, but the road they are on is a good one. Consider as part of the Starwood chain, the Element has recently launched pedal-powered charging stations in its fitness centers and has announced that all of its hotels are now 100% powered by renewable energy.

The hotel also features recycled tires for flooring, soy based fabrics on room furniture, low-flow oversized showerheads, shampoo/body wash dispensers to avoid plastic bottle waste and dual-flush toilets to reduce water consumption.

The Element Hotels, are also now inviting guests to hit the trails and take in the blooms with its complimentary Bikes-to-Borrow program for all Element guests to get around Manhattan.

Wait, did I happen to mention it’s in Midtown? Full on score.

Six of us were hungry, crazy hungry as in “Don’t talk to me or I’ll rip your freaking face off hungry,” when we were led by member of our group to Souen for some organic, macrobiotic food.

Souen in NYC

Apparently, not just since my last trip but since 1971, Souen has been offering natural organic food to New York diners, “with the foremost priority being to serve delicious meals in keeping with good health.”

No refined, chemicals, preservatives, meat or dairy products are used in their kitchen and they “employ traditional methods of preparation whenever possible to enhance the healthful quality and natural flavor” of their food. While their ultimate goal is to allow foodies to experience traditional Japanese, macrobiotic food, they are also totally into making you feel full of good stuff that makes you want to run around NYC just a little longer. Even if you get lost, walk 5 blocks past your hotel (see above accommodation) and whimper from the pain of your eco shoes.

At least I had some seaweed in me for power.

New York City has more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities across the five boroughs. Parks properties range from swimming pools to wetlands and from woodlands to dog hangouts. Have you ever taken the time to sit in one while there? If no, you’re missing out.

Biking in NYC

This time around it was all about the waterfront parks and bench sitting and watching a more natural, much less rushed version of Manhattan go by (with a coffee in hand, of course).

Speaking of the waterfront and some really great bike paths, NYC offers plenty. According to, more than 200,000 people bike every day in New York City. This explains all the hot outfits women wore while getting here and there on two wheels.

Note to self, embrace biking next time in the city.

Beacon’s Closet (Vintage and Modern Used Clothing)
Every time I go to New York City I have to stay somewhere new so people don’t get tired of me. At the beginning of April I stayed in Park Slope, Brooklyn and thanks to my innate sense of choosing the wrong direction, I ended up at Beacon’s Closet on 5th Avenue.

Beacon's Closet

The Park Slope store opened in 2002, the second one in a chain of three — the others are located in Williamsburg and on 13th Street in Manhattan.

Thanks once again to thinking I was on the right block, I thought I’d kill a little time before getting my apartment key and see what the shop had. A shirt dress and slouchy sweater later, I was walking out happy and ringing a buzzer across the street from Beacon’s Closet to which I thought belonged to my friend. I was wrong, this was not my friend’s apartment but from what I gathered looked more like a building housing meth addicts or, quite possibly, beat poet wannabes.

Next time I will remember not to confuse the blocks OR ring more wrong apartment buzzers to see what trouble I can get myself in…

About author
Amy DuFault is a sustainable fashion writer and editor whose work has been published in EcoSalon, Ecouterre, Huffington Post, Organic Spa, Coastal Living, Yahoo News, The Frisky and other online and print publications. In addition to being a former co-owner of an eco-boutique and repping for many designers, she also coaches and connects the sustainable fashion community.
2 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Beacon’s Closet and Souen are two very awesome places I love to frequent, but I didn’t know about the Element Hotel! Now I know where to send my friends and family when they ask for “a good place to stay” while they’re in town. Grazie!

  2. Yes, they were great Alden! Great beds, pretty rooms and awesome views (see my instagram feed) 😉

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