• Lindsay Rootare

Eco Friendly Date Night Ideas

Sometimes it seems like life is more "ships passing in the night" than Loveboat. My boyfriend and I work opposite schedules, I work a traditional 9-5, while he works nights and weekends. This means when we do get a night together (Woo! Monday nights!), we make the most of our dates! BUT, after last year's thrilling eco-friendly Valentine's Day and our Zero Waste Anniversary, I decided to compile a few ideas for some eco friendly dates in New York City. Whether partaking in these for Galentine's Day, Valentine's Day or just a treat yo'self solo date night, you can do so in an environmentally conscious way!


WHAT TO DO


My boyfriend, Adam, and I about to explore the digester eggs on our Newtown Creek wastewater treatment plant tour!

- Take a tour of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant! This may sound crazy, but have you ever been on the way to the airport and passed those massive chrome digester eggs and wondered, "What are thooooseee???" Those are massive, self-sustaining digester eggs going through the wastewater for North Brooklyn! They are a modern ecological marvel, and a few times a year (February, April and October) the New York City Department of Environmental Protection offers tours. A little stinky, and depending on time of year, a little cold, but filled with laughs from the jovial staff and a truly unique experience. My boyfriend and I went for Valentine's Day this year and had a wonderful time (completed with chocolate and sewer pins from the NYCDEP), the night tours even see hearts projected on the digester eggs!


Excited by the treasures of the trash museum in East Harlem!

- Travel back through time, through the trash! Hidden on the Upper Level of an old garbage truck garage is the "Trash Museum" containing relics pulled from 20 years of garbage runs by former sanitation worker, Nelson Molina, he had an eye for seeing the potential in damaged and broken things and has turned them into the most amazing "museum." With some true marvels and many unique pieces, this museum is a quirky history lesson and prop heavy after school special reminding you anything can be repaired with enough determination and creative outlook.


- Experience innovation, in food! New York City is home to many innovative rooftop and indoor gardens and now even farms, like FarmOne (and more!)! We've all heard jokes about college kids growing weed in their closets, but now there's an actual science to growing all kinds of food indoors, and many offer tours with groups like the New York Adventure Club and Atlas Obscura. Feast on!


- Be a tourist for a day at LEEDS Certified Green Buildings, like the Empire State Building, One World Trade and 10 Hudson Yards. See the sites, wait in the lines, but know that you are at least doing it at an eco-friendly building! Pro tip, if you visit the Empire State Building late at night, there are no lines, you have practically the entire outlook point to yourself to re-enact Sleepless in Seattle (and The Mindy Project) as many times as you want!


The outside may be a little basic but the inside of the solar roof pod is simplistic and modern!

- See how the 0% lives at the Solar Roof Pod atop City College. This solar powered state of the art apartmentment/pod is an archectectural phenomenon! The Solar Roof Pod is open a few times a year for Open House New York Weekend and various events put on by City College. Check it out for amazing views and a quick stroll through New York City's most Hogwartsy campus.


The Eco Brooklyn Showcase House in Gowanus is traffic stopping, eye catching, amazing!

- Spend a day in Gowanus, between snacks at the gentrifying (but wind powered) Whole Foods, a canoe trip down the Gowanus Canal and walking the streets by the coolest buildings you have ever seen (*cough*Eco Brooklyn Show House*cough*), you can make a full day in this green neighborhood!


- Any of the events in the Hand Me Up Club weekly event guides! Whether attending a craft night or fascinating lecture, there's bound to be something happening that can pique all parties' attention!


- And if things are going well, end it all with a luxe night at a hotel committed to decreasing New York City's carbon footprint!


WHERE TO EAT


Adam (in his sustainable United by Blue shirt) overwhelmed by our eco-friendly pizza at Manducati's Rustica.

- Manducati's Rustica in Long Island City, home of the eco-friendly pizza! Finally justification for my most pervasive addiction! Made in eco friendly Izzo ovens, how can you resist? Looking for more sustainable pizza options? The famous Roberta's in Bushwick uses ingredients grown on their own rooftop farm!


- Blue Hill Restaurant in Greenwich Village is already cool because it's in an old speakeasy off of Washington Square park. However, bonus cool points for using sustainable, locally sourced ingredients and even pioneering a food waste program called WastED!


- The Marshal has a bacon mac and cheese that is to die for, and it's a 3 Star Certified Green restaurant, yum!


- Le Bernardin on the Upper East Side not only sends off leftover food to City Harvest but also has an extensive composting program! Not to mention the ultra cool back alley Freemans on the Lower East Side (Come for the black and blue burger, stay for the ambiance).


- Lighthouse in Brooklyn, with sustainably captured seafish from Greenpoint Fish & Lobster and by recycling their scraps with BK Rot, Lighthouse is truly a beacon of food sustainability. And if seafood is really your jam, check out Sustainable Seafood Week!




WHERE TO DRINK (COFFEE, ALCOHOL, ETC)


These eco friendly straws are used at Birdbath and JOE!

- Recharge with coffee from JOE! They use eco-friendly, biodegradeable plastics for their straws and cups, and coffee is just pretty damn good.


- The 18th Room speakeasy in Chelsea has sustainable cocktails, reusing scraps for drinks, and the scraps that are not drink-worthy as cleaner ingredients!


- Post Bar in Clinton Hill was once an old stable, transformed into a fun local bar through sustainable building materials! Similarly, the Birdbath Bakery is made using sustainable and recycled building materials, and crafts a mean cup of coffee.


- By now if you haven't heard of COFFEED, where have you been? This Fair Trade coffee shop partners with the best to conserve parks and restore the city.


- With "The Marisol" using recycled citrus rinds and the "Cafe Corsica" using recycled coffee grounds from La Colombe, drinks at RedFarm are delightfully sustainable!



TRANSPORTATION


Being in NYC, we already have more eco friendly ways of travel, ie, the subway. If you are looking for other ways to get around, the East River Ferry is the same price as a metrocard swipe and can get you between Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. We've also got Citibike (And you can probably get a Citibike discount with some group you are affiliated with, whether your office, gym, union, etc, Seems like everyone has a Citibike partnership these days!). Electric scooters are currently illegal, but that could change soon! Until then, try and stay away from Uber/Lyft and try one of these options, or even good old walking!


It's so easy to have a sustainable date night in NYC, why not choose to be eco friendly, AND fun? If you can make it here....you can also recycle and reuse it here!