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Sustainable NYC Living: Organic Farmers at NYC Farmers Markets

There’s something very relaxing about strolling through an outdoor farmers market, and NYC is home to many of these arrays of colorful produce and delicious aromas. On weekends and some weekdays, various corners of the city are filled with everything from vegetables, microgreens, and orchard fruits to grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, and exotic cheeses from northern New York, western Pennsylvania, and as far south as Cumberland County, NJ. Activities such as recipe and book exchanges, cooking demonstrations, and live music all add to the magical feel of these displays. While I’ve rounded up […]

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Obama Announces Passive House Track with NY State Homes and Community Renewal

Several weeks ago, President Obama announced a plan to help bring renewable energy and energy efficiency to households across the US, including guaranteeing $1 billion in loans to individuals for green-energy projects. Among the initiatives announced in Obama’s new plan is the establishment of a Passive House track with New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) to provide loans to developers that will help accelerate the trend toward construction of Passive House-certified multifamily buildings in the city. As I’ve written about previously, Passive House is an international building standard […]

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New Listing at TriBeCa’s Highly Sought After 250 West Street

Sunset views over the Hudson River in Tribeca. It doesn’t get better than this. You enter a massive loft like living room with 10 foot high ceilings, seeing the ships sail by down below, pour yourself a glass of wine and take in the unsurpassed views. This is luxury living in New York at it’s finest. An owner’s suite with en-suite spa-like bath and a huge custom-designed walk in closet. A fantastic guest quarter with en-suite bath and walk in closet. And all this with the same gorgeous water views. […]

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Q&A with Carlos Zapata, World Renowned Architectural Designer

Carlos Zapata is an architectural designer who grew up in Ecuador, received his Bachelor and Master of Architecture degrees in New York, and has designed innovative buildings all over the world. He recently won one of the 50 most innovative skyscrapers award from the Council on Tall Buildings for his work on the Bitexco Financial tower in Ho Chi Minh City, also named one of the 50 most iconic skyscrapers in the world by CNN Go. I spent years with Carlos working on getting Landmarks approval for what will one day […]

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Tadao Ando’s Condos at 152 Elizabeth Street

Sales have launched for two of the units at 152 Elizabeth Street, the “glass jewel box suspended in poured-in-place concrete” at the corner of Elizabeth and Delancey. The building was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, and is Ando’s first standalone project in New York City. The exterior of 152 Elizabeth will feature concrete, galvanized steel, and glass – all materials Ando is known for working with. The entrance along Elizabeth Street will have a garden wall planted with vines, and residents will walk through a vestibule lined with […]

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Sustainable Farming for Veterans on the Heroic Food Farm in Claverack, NY

Up in the Hudson River Valley, 20 tranquil acres of farmland are about to take the shape of a military training ground—to teach veterans about sustainable farming and food entrepreneurship. This program, called Heroic Food Farm, has two aims: to help veterans and to help address the crisis in US farming. According to the US Labor Department, the unemployment rate for soldiers who have served since 2001 is more than 7 percent. As recently reported in the Wall Street Journal, agricultural production in the US decreases by roughly 9.5 percent […]

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Sustainable Living in NYC: Bloomberg’s plaNYC and de Blasio’s OneNYC

You’re probably hearing the word “resilience” a lot lately. While the buzz is somewhat new, the concept isn’t. With roots in ecology science, the term arose to define the ability of systems to adapt or bounce back from shocks and setbacks—be it the environment or a niche ecosystem. Today, the concept has found prominence in wide-ranging disciplines from childhood development to city planning. As far as “future-proofing” cities to be resilient goes, NYC is ahead of the curve. In 2007, the Bloomberg administration introduced “PlaNYC,” a groundbreaking effort to address […]

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Sustainable Living: Organic and Biodynamic Wines

Grape-harvesting season is coming to New York soon and before we know it, we’ll have the newest collections on the shelves with only a small percentage being labeled organic. This is partially because there is still a lot of confusion over organic wines since certification and labeling requirements are unclear to even some of the most knowledgeable wine drinkers. However, just because a wine is not labeled organic does not mean it isn’t made using organic farming and winemaking. Some winemakers choose not to label their wine organic because the […]

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Sustainable NYC Living: Foam Packaging Ban

Earlier this summer, New York joined a growing list of cities, such as San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC, and Portland (Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine), in banning Expanded Polystyrene foam (EPS). As of July 1, the packaging material commonly used for takeout containers and coffee cups, as well as packing peanuts, can no longer be used in the city (with some exceptions for wholesalers and butchers).  Marketed under the name Styrofoam when it was invented by Dow Chemical in 1941, EPS is produced by steaming tiny plastic beads with chemicals […]

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World Expo, Milan – Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life

The World Expo is currently taking place in Milan, Italy and the theme this year is, “Feeding the Planet, Energy For Life.” The theme is based on the need to develop sustainable lifestyles as they relate to the availability and consumption of food worldwide.  With over 1.3 billion tons of food being wasted each year, while 870 million people suffered from undernourishment between 2010-2012, the Universal Exposition has invited countries to, as the website says, “reflect upon, and seek solutions to, the contradictions of our world. From the very first […]

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The Barclays Center Green Roof Has Bloomed

It looks like the green roof on top of the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn has finally sprouted. The new structure not only provides a nice view for the neighborhood, its flowering plants, called sedum, will absorb rainwater and excess sound from the arena’s events.  There is some controversy regarding how “green” the roof actually is, since it isn’t being built on top of the actual Barclays Center roof, but rather on a 130,000 SF steel structure that was built specifically for the green roof.  A steel structure of this size, […]

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Sustainable Living in NYC: Eco-Friendly Flooring Options

I’ve mentioned on my blog recently that my wife and I purchased a beautiful 1930’s Victorian home in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, with the intention to retrofit it to passive house standards for more sustainable living.  If you have a similar desire to make your home more sustainable, the U.S. Green Building Council proposes that you look at the following  factors when building or remodeling: Energy savings Water efficiency CO2 emissions reduction Improved indoor environmental quality Stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. When it comes to flooring, there are a number of […]

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Elements Preschool Is Now Open

Earlier this year, I wrote about Elements Preschool, the urban nature preschool which was about to open on the Lower East Side. They had just finished designing their facility, which includes a carefully crafted large backyard rich with naturalistic elements. Shilpa Sethi, the founder of Elements Preschool, reached out to let me know that the school is up and running, and their summer program started last month! Check out the video below for a look inside Elements, and to learn more about their story: Elements Preschool has created a safe […]

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Sustainable Living in NYC: Reducing Food Waste in the City and Beyond

France made international headlines in May when its national assembly voted unanimously to pass a law banning supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. If the food is still safe to eat, it will need to be donated to charity; if not, it will be donated to farmers and turned into animal feed or compost. The law will also introduce an educational program about food waste in schools and businesses, as part of a wider drive to halve the amount of food waste in France by 2025. In recent […]

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