Monday, September 29, 2008

A Few More Green and Natural New York CIty Tidbits

For the aroma or aromatherapy nut, there is a small, but delightful store in the west village of New York City called Enfleurage, which offers essential oils, both common and exotic, as well as books and diffusers, and other fun aroma products.

Enfleurage, 321 Bleeker Street, NYC (bet. Christopher & Grove Streets, just west of 7th Avenue); 212-691-1610;; Open Monday to Saturday 12 to 8pm, and Sunday 12- 6pm

For eating healthy on the go try the Le Pain Quotidien, a Belgium chain of restaurants serving organic and natural foods. You can go to the Le Pain website ( to find the seventeen! locations in New York City.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Outdoor Living: New York City Film Screenings in the Fresh Air

A delightful way to spend a summer evening full of fresh air, camaraderie, and culture is to attend an outdoor film screening. France and Switzerland have well known outdoor summer film venues, and you can happily find the same in New York City. Like their European counterparts, shows are subject to weather and held only in the summer months. While the 2008 season is over, keep the following venues in mind for summer 2009.

In Bryant Park, located at 42nd St and Sixth Avenue behind the Main Public Library with the Lion Statues, you can find the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival with screenings on Mondays from the middle of June to the mid-August. The Lawn opens at 5pm, movies begin at sundown, see for movie details.

Special Note: From April to October you can attend free Yoga and Tai Chi classes in the morning at Bryant Park – check the calendar at for details.

The Central Park Movie Festival runs daily for a week or so in August. It is free and screenings start at 8pm (gates open at 6pm), at 69-70th St and 5th Ave in the Rumsey Playfield. Check for details.
Central Park is also home to the Delacorte, an open air Theatre near the 79th street Park entrance where the Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park is performed. You can also go to Summerstage, a free, outdoor music and performing arts festival held in Rumsey Playfield. See for a full schedule.

At the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park you can see films on Thursdays at sundown through the summer. Information at: under Movies With A View.

Movie Nights on the Elevated Acre – a special spot in lower Manhattan- are free and held on Tuesdays at 8pm during August at 55 Water St between Old Slip and Broad Street. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. See for a full schedule.

On the Hudson River, at Pier 54 at West 14th and West Street you can view films on Wednesdays. On Pier 46 at Charles and West Street you can view on Fridays. See for summer schedules.

Rooftop Films: Underground Movies Outdoors has been been screening movies on rooftops and other outdoor locations since 1997. They now have thirteen venues in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Roosevelt Park. Check the website for the summer schedule:

In the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, the Summer Screen Series is held at the McCarren Park Pool on Tuesdays and the gates open at 5:30. See for details.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shopping Recycled: Second Hand Stores in New York City

Like any city in the world, shopping in New York City can be outrageously expensive, and more times than not, have nothing to do with anything “green”. Take heart, although not advertised and usually on less traveled streets, there are numerous second-hand stores throughout the city. Some are simply second-hand or consignment stores, others are run by non-profit organizations that use their store’s revenues to fund humanitarian work helping people suffering from HIV and AIDS, the homeless, and other issues.

Thrift shops tend to be located together in clusters as you will see from the addresses below. On the Upper East side there are many thrift stores along 2nd and 3rd Avenues in the 80s. These stores tend to be more expensive than the stores downtown or uptown. The Chelsea area of Manhattan is a hot spot for thrift stores around west 17th street.

Any of these stores can be a treasure trove for the shopper who likes to reuse and recycle goods, as well as for those who simply like the hunt for a good bargain or special trinkets. Happy hunting.

Chelsea- West 17th Street Area:
Angel Street Thrift Shop, 118 W. 17th St. (bet. 6th & 7th Avenues), NYC, 212-229-0546, Open Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12-5pm. Angel Street helps people dealing with substance abuse, mental illness, HIV and AIDS.
Housing Works has seven locations including at 143 W. 17 St. (bet. 6th & 7th Avenues), NYC, 212-366-0820, Open Monday-Friday 10am-7pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday Noon-5. Housing Works supports housing, health care and advocacy for homeless people with HIV and AiDS.
Uja Federation Thrift Shop, 17 W. 17th ST. (bet. 5th & 6th Avenues), NYC, 212-727-7512, Open Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm. The Uja Federation works on sustaining and strengthening Jewish communities around the world.

In the area:
Salvation Army, 208 8th Avenue (at 21st Street), NYC, 212-929-5214, - search the website for all of their stores.
Goodwill, 103 W. 25th St. (at 6th Avenue), NYC, 646-638-1725, - search the website for all of their stores.
City Opera Thrift Store, 222 E. 23rd, NYC, 212-684-5344

Upper East Side (not a complete list):
Irving Institute for Medical Research, 1534 2nd Ave (bet. 79-80th Sts)
Memorial Sloan-Kettering, 1440 3rd Avenue (bet. 81-82 Sts)
Arthritis Fund, 121 E. 77th St.
Cancer Care, 1480 3rd Avenue (bet. 83-84 Sts)
Council Thrift Store, 246 E. 84 St.
Grandmother’s League, 1459 3rd Avenue (82-83 Sts)
Housing Works has two stores one on 77th and 2nd and another on 90th and 2nd.

Other Second Hand Stores:
Other clusters of Thrift stores are in the East and West Village, the Gramercy area (East 20s), Harlem, and the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
RePop, 68 Washington Avenue (bet. Park & Flushing), Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn, NY, 718-260-8032, Open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday 11am-6pm. They have a large variety of goods, 95% of which are recycled or second-hand.

Used Books: Many of the second-hand stores sell books and there are also many used bookstores in New York. Here are a couple of stores with a large selection of used books:

Most famous- The Strand, 828 Broadway (12th Street), NYC, 212-473-1452, sells what seems like acres of used (and some new) books. It has been in existence for over 75 years, Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-10:30pm, Sunday 11am-10:30pm

Housing Works Used Book Café, 126 Crosby St. (at Prince between Broadway and Lafayette), NYC, 212-334-3324, Open Monday-Friday 10am-9pm, Saturday and Sunday Noon-7pm.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Enjoying the Country in the City: Green Space and Markets in New York City

While many people think of New York City as a hunk of grey concrete, there are many things “green” in the city. Two recent posts (see archives) have talked about some great green eating in the city. Public transportation and walking are the only way to get around, and for the brave, bicycling. While the downtown “Village” of Manhattan, and the boroughs (Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island) can be a little confusing to navigate, the center of Manhattan is very simple. It is based on a grid and numbered with ascending numbers going uptown or north. Below Central Park (south of 59th Street) most of the avenues are numbered and ascend from East to West. On either side of the park some of the avenues are named. For a native New Yorker these are ingrained as to which are West Side and which are East side, for visitors it is best to carry a map.

For literally green areas of the city there are over 1700 parks and recreational areas, the largest of which is Central Park, designated a National Historic Landmark, with 843 acres and 26,000 trees, the park runs 2.5 miles long by .5 miles wide. Strawberry Fields, named in honor of John Lennon, covers 2.5 acres within Central Park on the West side between 71st and 74th Streets. Strawberry Fields, considered a “Quiet Space” in Central Park, has a mosaic inscribed with the word “Imagine”. One hundred and twenty-one countries recognize Strawberry Fields as a Garden of Peace. Central Park is filled with trails and sites, ball fields, theaters, flowers and more. See the web site below for full information.

New York City has numerous Farmer’s Markets, called Greenmarkets. Thirty markets operate seasonally sometime between April and November, while sixteen markets are open year round. Some of the larger year round markets include:
Union Square in Manhattan between 14th-17th streets and Broadway, once a haven for drug dealers and users, is now a refurbished mini-park, home to the Union Square GreenMarket. Accessible by many subway lines and buses, the Union Square GreenMarket is open year round from 8am-6pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Farmers sell a variety of fresh, local foods including in-season specialties such as cherries and peaches, as well as vegetables, meats, dairy products, crafts and plants.
At the north entrance of Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Grand Army Plaza hosts a GreenMarket on Saturdays year round from 8am-4pm.
The Bowling Green GreenMarket is held at the southern tip of Manhattan at Broadway and Battery Place on Tuesdays and Thursdays around the year from 8am to 5pm. See the website information below for a full listing of all the GreenMarkets with their days, times and locations.

On sunny days the green spaces of New York come alive with walkers, joggers, bicyclers, roller bladers, sunbathers and others enjoying the country in the city. The GreenMarkets are always bustling, so arrive earlier rather than later for the best selections. You will find it almost hard to believe you are in one of the largest cities in the world!

To find Parks throughout New York City go to the following link for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation -
You can also find free wifi hotspots in city parks including seven in Central Park, two in Prospect Park, and throughout Union Square, Washington Square and Battery Parks. For information specific to Central Park see the Central Park Conservancy - - for maps, events, sites and hours.

At the Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC) - you will find full information about Greenmarket Farmer’s Markets throughout the five boroughs with a downloadable map at: . The Council also provides information about recycling throughout the city, as well as how to generally live a greener lifestyle using non-toxic alternatives to common products.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Groovy Green Spots in New York City

New York City is full of Groovy Green spots. Here are a few I recommend. The Spring Street Natural Restaurant is located on the corner of Lafayette and Spring in lower Manhattan and has been a haven for natural foods enthusiasts for over twenty-five years. Menu options include organic vegetables, fish and chicken, as well as vegan dishes. Fresh-pressed juices are available and they have a full bar.
The Counter Restaurant is an organic wine and martini bar with a vegetarian bistro. They serve organic and biodynamic wines, as well as martinis made with organic vodka and other ingredients. They have an organic rooftop garden overflowing with herbs, fruits and vegetables that they use in their dishes. They serve delightful brunch and dinners, and did I mention the chocolate fondue?
The New London Pharmacy has a large selection of natural and not so natural products, but their supreme green line is the Organic Pharmacy, a UK based business making organic and pure skin and body care products, as well as supplements and medicinal herbal remedies. Be forewarned, the line is very expensive due to the high quality of ingredients and the fact that it is imported from England. The New London Pharmacy also sells other natural products including the Dr. Haushka line, and other European and American brands.
The Rubin Museum of Art (RMA) is dedicated to art from the Himalayas and they have breathtaking collections from Tibet and neighboring countries. The RMA hosts numerous events from films, music and workshops to children specific activities. The focus of their Fall 2008 calendar is Bhutan. The gift shop is filled with crafts made by Himalayan artisans, including Buddhist monk and nun dolls handmade by Tibetan Buddhist Nuns. The museum is serene and beautiful, enjoy!

Spring Street Natural, 62 Spring Street, NYC, 212-966-0290;; Open Monday-Friday for breakfast 9am-11:30am, lunch 11:30-4:30pm, and dinner daily from 5-11:30pm (Fridays and Saturdays until 12:30). On Saturday and Sunday brunch is served from 10:30-4pm.

Counter Restaurant & Wine Bar, 105 First Avenue (between 6th and 7th streets), New York; 212-982-5870; ; Open Monday-Thursday 5pm-midnight, Friday 5pm-1am; Saturday 11am-1am, and Sunday 11am- midnight.

The New London Pharmacy, 246 8th Avenue (between 23rd & 24th streets), New York; 212-243-4987;; Open Monday-Wednesday 8:30am-7:30pm, Thursday-Friday 8:30am-8:30pm, Saturday 9am-8pm, Sunday 10am- 6:30pm

The Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th Street (between 6th & 7th avenues), New York; 212-620-5000; ; Open Monday and Thursday 11am-5pm, Wednesday 11am-7pm, Friday 11am-10pm, Saturday & Sunday 11am-6pm, Closed Tuesdays. Entrance is $10 for adults, kids under 12 are free, college students with i.d. are $2, Friday from 7-10pm is free.