green holidays

Sustainable Weekend Activities: NYC

Check out our top eco-friendly weekend recommendations and feel free to share your own in the comments section.

Canstruction Design Competition: Twenty-five teams of architects, engineers, contractors and the students they mentor will compete to build enormous structures made entirely out of unopened cans of food, which are then on view to the public until they are dismantled and donated to City Harvest for distribution to those in need. Admission is free, but visitors are asked to bring a can of high quality food to the exhibition’s collection station to reach their goal of collecting over 50,000 pounds of non-perishable edibles. Saturday, February 9 and Sunday February 10, 10:00 a.m. –6:00 p.m.

Clothing and Textile Recycling:  Textiles can be dropped off weekly at eight select Greenmarkets: 97th Street, Union Square (Monday and Saturday only), Grand Army Plaza, Fort Greene, McCarren Park, Inwood, Tompkins Square and Jackson Heights.  Collections accept clean and dry clothing, paired shoes, bedding, linens, hats, handbags, belts, fabric scraps 36″ x 36″ or larger and other textiles. Click here for the full schedule of textile recycling stations.

Free Music Fridays at the American Folk Art Museum: Enjoy live music every Friday from 5:30 –7:30 p.m. Admission is always free.

Health & Race Walking in Central Park— Still looking to turn over a new leaf in 2013? Join other New Yorkers as you get fit and enjoy Central Park’s winter landscapes. Saturday, February 9, 9:30 a.m.—11:00 a.m.

Lunar New Year Firecracker Celebration: Join the Better Chinatown Society for the 14th Annual New Year firecracker ceremony and cultural festival at Sara Roosevelt Park this Sunday, February 10 at 11:00 a.m.

Rechargeable Battery and Cell Phone Recycling: Here at EPA, eCycling is one of our favorite topics. If you’re interested in diverting e-waste from landfills, check out GrowNYC’s collection boxes for rechargeable batteries and cell phones, stationed at Greenmarkets across Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. For a complete list of hours and locations, click here.

Volunteer: Find volunteer opportunities in your area as an easy way to shake up your weekend plans (while also lending a hand).

ea as an easy way to shake up your weekend plans (while also lending a hand).

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Eco-friendly Weekend Activities

Cross Central Park Promenade Tour – You will see many surprises: a hidden bench that tells time, miniature boats powered by the wind, a magnificent sculpture celebrating fresh water. These are just some of the sites on this east-to-west walk through the Park. Sunday, February 3, 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

Family Art Project at Wave Hill: March Out The Mardi Gras! Join visiting native New Orleans artist and instructor Paul Deo to make a colorful parasol, hat, nature mask or funky bead necklace. Then join an imaginative indoor parade as we create the sights, colors and sounds of the Mardi Gras at the Ecology Building in Wave Hill. Sunday, February 3, 10:00 a.m. –1:00 p.m.

Fix Your Bike Workshop: Come learn how to fix bikes, do simple maintenance and tune-ups at the Time’s Up bike mechanic skill share. Sunday, February 3, 6:00 p.m.

NYC Audubon Winter EcoCruise: Step aboard the New York Water Taxi for a winter adventure in New York Harbor! Look for harbor seals on the rocky shores of Governors Island and the more remote Hoffman and Swinburne Islands. Learn about the surprisingly diverse winter birds of New York City, including ducks, geese, loons, and sandpipers – many of which migrate south from the Arctic Circle. Dress warmly and bring your binoculars because there will be plenty to see! Departs Pier 17, South Street Seaport. Sunday, February 3, 2:00 –4:00 p.m.

The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter – Ready for summer? Stop by the American Museum of Natural History this weekend to frolic with 500 butterfly specimens in a balmy 80 degree vivarium. Saturday-Sunday, February 2-3, 10:00 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Sustainable Weekend Activities to Keep you Warm!

It may be cold, but there’s no need to hibernate! We’ve got suggestions to help you brave the temps while still staying sustainable and eco-friendly.

Animal Autographs – Head to Staten Island to learn how to identify Greenbelt inhabitants by their footprints. Walk and crafting geared to ages 4-8. Sunday, January 27,  1 p.m.

Eco-Crafting Competition – Teams will compete to create crafts out of discarded materials in this Iron Chef-style competition. Come out and cheer for your favorite up-cyclers! Friday, January 25, 6 p.m.

Family Art Project: Give a Winter Bird a Home – Learn how to make a birdhouse or feeder with recycled materials. Entrance is free at Wave Hill Gardens until noon on Saturday. January 26, 10 a.m.

Light Show at Winter Garden – Check out the opening weekend of the LED-light installation at the World Financial Center Winter Garden. Daily from sunset to 12 a.m.

Winter Jam – It’s time for the annual winter sports festival in Central Park! Get out and explore some of the winter activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, animal tracking and more. This year there is even a doggie snow zone! Saturday, January 26, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Woodlands Discovery in Central Park – Explore the North Woods with a Discovery Kit geared toward kids ages 8-12. Binoculars, a hand lens and flora/fauna guides provided help inspire woodland adventures in the wilds of Central Park. Friday-Sunday, January 25-27, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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NYC Sustainable Weekend Recommendations

Greening the Apple’s weekend recommendations are back for 2013! Start the year off on a green foot with some of these activities!

Electronic Waste Recycling at Tekserve— The Lower East Side Ecology Center is bringing one of its 10th Annual “After the Holidays” E-waste Events to Tekserve in Chelsea to help you responsibly recycle  all of your unwanted or broken gadgets. Spread the word to your friends and neighbors! Saturday, January 19, 10:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m.

Emergency Preparedness Training in Prospect Park— Whether you are preparing for an extended journey through the woods or just want to be more prepared for any situation, an emergency preparedness program is perfect for you. Let the Urban Park Rangers help prepare you for the unexpected. Sunday, January 20, 1:00 p.m.

Health & Race Walking in Central Park— Still looking to turn over a new leaf in 2013? Join other New Yorkers as you get fit and enjoy Central Park’s winter landscapes. Saturday, January 19, 9:30 a.m.—11:00 a.m.

Ice Skating in Van Cortland Park— If you haven’t been to the ice rink in Van Cortland Park this winter, what are you waiting for? Saturdays, 12:00 p.m.—10:00 p.m., Sundays, 12:00 p.m.—8:00 p.m.

Tropical Paradise at the NY Botanical Gardens— Want to get out of the cold? Check out the Botanical Garden’s “Tropical Paradise,” featuring orange-yellow crotons, fuchsia bromeliads and more! You’ll feel like you’re on a tropical vacation without having to leave the City! Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00—6:00 p.m.

Winter Constellations and Stargazing— Winter’s long nights provide ample opportunity to stare into the sky and see stars.  Learn to recognize the constellations of winter, and then gaze into the night sky on the lawn in front of the Greenbelt Conservancy’s Nature Center to see which constellations you can find.  Registration required. Sunday, January 20, 5:30 p.m.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Eco-Friendly Weekend Activities – Special Holiday Edition!

It’s that time of year again! We want to wish everyone a fun and sustainable holiday season. Since the world didn’t end when the Mayan calendar said it would, we compiled some extra suggestions for how to spend your time in the New York City area for the rest of December. See you next year!

Christmas Morning Bike Ride: Neither rain nor snow nor holiday will keep the Five Borough Bike Club from their ride through three states. Approximately four hours of great fun and comradeship. George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal, 178th St. at Ft. Washington Ave, Manhattan, 45 miles, C-14 pace. Ride ends at the Willis Ave Bridge in the Bronx. Leaders: Jesse Brown and Rodney Millard. Call 917-578-2244 with inquiries. Tuesday, December 25, 8:30 a.m. (see link above for other options available).

Ice Skate at Van Cortlandt Park: The caption says it all! Open daily during the holiday season.

Holiday Open House at the Queens County Farm Museum: Warm up the winter season with mulled cider, tours of our decorated historic farmhouse, and craft activities for children. The event takes place from Monday, December 26th until Wednesday, December 28th and is free of charge.

Midnight Run in Central Park – Celebrate the New Year with a toast to your health by participating in a four mile annual fun run. Monday, December 31, 10 p.m.

Needlecrafts: Before video games, movies, and television, indoor games and projects helped pass the long winter days. At Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, you can try your hand at needlepoint! Wednesday, December 26, 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Presents to the Animals – It’s the last chance to see animals at the Prospect Park Zoo pounce on their presents of treat-filled bags and boxes. Saturday and Sunday, December 29-30, 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Volunteer – For many New Yorkers, it’s been a very tough year. Rather than just donating money, there are many ways you can donate time or other services. We’ve provided several ways you can get involved to help make sure that 2013 is a better year for everyone. (Note: The following list does not reflect EPA policy or endorsement.)

City Harvest – From nutrition education to food distribution, help make sure that all New Yorkers get well fed this holiday season.

Disaster Response – New York Cares is perhaps the city’s largest volunteer organization. Check out their special activities targeted toward ongoing Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.

Friends of Firefighters – Volunteer to help firefighters and their families who may need extra support this holiday season.

Holiday Volunteer Projects – Several food prep and package delivery activities for individuals, families and large groups.

NYC Service – Launched by the mayor, this citywide initiative helps coordinate volunteer initiatives.

Occupy Sandy Recovery – Sign up for volunteer opportunities with this on the ground organization.

Red Hook Initiative – Help out in this Brooklyn neighborhood that was affected by the recent storm.

Roberto Clemente Park Cleanup – Head to the Bronx to volunteer at this ongoing park cleanup opportunity. Wednesday, January 2, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Volunteer in Staten Island – Some of the communities in Staten Island are going to be recovering from Sandy for a long time. Target your time in a hard-hit area by checking out this extensive list.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Sustainable New York City Weekend Events

Have you completed all of your holiday shopping? There are plenty of green activities both indoor and out this coming weekend to keep you busy!

Christmas Bird Count – Spend the pre-holiday weekend out in nature, all while doing your part to support the bird population. The Christmas Bird Count is a nationwide bird census that helps conservation researchers track the long-term health of bird populations. Saturday, December 15, 12 & 3 p.m., and Sunday December 16, 3 p.m.

Columbus Avenue Holiday Market: The Columbus Avenue Holiday Market will again be held out of the historic, beautiful, and well known Church of St. Paul the Apostle located right on Columbus Avenue between 59th and 60th Streets. The holiday market event will be situated in St. Paul’s 9,000 sq ft Hall with its high ceilings and exquisite grand doors just a few steps down from the sidewalk level. Check out the 60 plus vendors that will be featuring their unique handcrafted and vintage wares out of the spacious 9000 square foot auditorium. You’re sure to find amazing holiday gifts such as art, jewelry, toys, chocolates, body care, handbags, clothing, stationary, scarves and hats, pottery, and more! Saturday, December 15, 12 –6 p.m.

Conference House Woodlands Storm Cleanup: Join Natural Areas Volunteers in storm cleanup of the woodlands at Conference House Park. Your help is needed to restore the forest and clear out the storm debris. Please follow this link to pledge a day of service. Note that registration is necessary. Saturday, December 15, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

Degenerate Craft Fair: Sustainable, crafty and handmade gifts with an artistic flair. Saturday, December 15, 12-9 p.m. and Sunday, December 16, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Ice Skate at Van Cortlandt Park: The caption says it all! Saturday, December 15, 12 –10 p.m., and Sunday, December 16, 12 –8 p.m.

Manhattan Adirondacks Tour: Olmsted and Vaux designed the North Woods to replicate the forests of the Adirondack Mountains, with their crystal streams, tumbling cascades, rustic bridges, and picturesque pools right in New York City’s backyard. For directions, please call 212-860-1370. Tour meets at: The Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, inside the Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues. Saturday, December 15, 12:30 –1:30 p.m.

New York Transit Museum Holiday Train Show: Head to Grand Central Terminal to check out the 11th Annual Holiday Train Show. Weekdays, 8 a.m. –8p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. –6 p.m.

The Wild Garden: Discovering Central Park Woodlands Exhibit– Use this hands-on exhibit to illuminate the history, ecology, and management of the woodlands and learn why these landscapes are so essential to the purpose of Central Park. The exhibit includes a digital interactive app highlighting historic photos and revealing hidden features. Exhibit introductions are available by appointment for groups of 10 or more; call 212-860-1370 for more information. Saturday, December 15, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

What the Dickens: Second Annual A Christmas Carol Marathon: Housing Works Bookstore hosts the second marathon reading of the holiday classic by Charles Dickens and featuring a roster of local authors. Begins Sunday, December 18, 1 p.m.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Entertaining over the Holidays

 By Elizabeth Myer

Entertaining in the New York City Metropolitan area is complicated (among potential obstacles, space concerns come to mind first and foremost), but hosting guests during the holidays is another thing entirely. In my 575 square foot Manhattan apartment, I’m lucky if I can fit 10 friends at once. With that said, over the years I’ve been able to narrow down some “green” tips for entertaining during any holiday season:

  • Send electronic invitations.
  • Look for reduced packaging when shopping for pre-party food (i.e. stay away from individually packaged treats in small serving sizes).
  • Bring re-usable bags with you to the food store. No excuse.
  • Eat foods that are in season whenever possible. This way, you are much more likely to be purchasing local items.
  • Dim the lights during your gathering (compact fluorescent, of course). After all, everyone knows that the easiest way to set the mood (and save energy) is to minimize the amount of blaring artificial light.
  • Avoid using disposable cups and plates. If you don’t feel comfortable asking guests to bring their own dishware (believe it or not, this is becoming quite the trend in urban areas), rent it! These days it’s cheap and simple to rent a range of dinnerware (plus tables, chairs and tablecloths). This is a GREAT tip for New Yorkers who often lack storage space for excess plates, cups, utensils, etc.
  • Wash the dishware ASAP to significantly reduce the amount of water it takes to clean. After a long night of hosting, this one can be tricky, but it makes a world of difference.

Are you an environmentally responsible host? Let us know how you manage to be eco-friendly while throwing an awesome party (trust me, the two go hand in hand).

Happy holidays!

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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