Green roofs growing atop a state university. An urban farm at the tip of Manhattan. A chain of wind-powered bakeries. Across New York City, businesses are incorporating green practices into their mission, and they're not just cutting down on printed paper. In honor of Earth Day this Tuesday, here's a look at five green innovators in the city and the lengths they're going to protect our planet.
Battery Urban Farm
Helping instill healthy, sustainable practices in tomorrow's leaders.
In 2010, eight students from Millennium High School approached The Battery Conservancy and proposed growing vegetables in The Battery. Today, the Battery Urban Farm produces more than 100 varieties of organically grown veggies, fruits, flowers and grains in its 1-acre farm and has educated thousands of students in sustainable practices and responsible waste management. On April 26, you can see first-hand what it's all about when the farm hosts educational games, arts and crafts and hands-on farm projects from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Corner of State and Pearl streets, 212-344-3491, www.thebattery.org
A bakery becomes its own eco-empire.
City Bakery's spinoff is spreading green goodness all over town. Since first launching in 2005, there are eight bakeries and counting in Manhattan, all cut from the same environmentally conscious cloth. Each Birdbath is built from recycled, found, vintage and stainable materials and is wind-powered. On top of that, bicycle-powered rickshaws deliver the food from the main kitchen to each location, helping reduce the chain's carbon footprint. Bonus: If you arrive by your own bike (or skateboard), you'll get a discount on that flaky chocolate croissant you've been eyeing. Various locations in Manhattan, www.thecitybakery.com/birdbath
Brooklyn Bridge Park
An urban ecosystem starts from scratch on the East River.
This park is green in more ways than one. The 85-acre sustainable waterfront destination, which stretches 1.3 miles along Brooklyn's East River shoreline, features granite salvaged from the deconstruction of two bridges throughout its grounds. It also boasts several green roofs on park structures, with more on the way. Of course, there's also the park's own thriving, diverse ecosystem. Go for a long stroll or Sunday tour among the native vegetation and bird habitats, or do your body some good with sunset Pilates, returning in June. 334 Furman St., brooklynbridgepark.org
Fashion Institute of Technology
Sustainable practices start at the (roof)top.
At FIT, it's more than just trendy to be green. Last year, the Chelsea-based state university placed first among colleges and universities in Mayor Bloomberg's 10-year carbon challenge by reducing its carbon footprint by more than 40 percent in three years. Energy-efficient renovations are undertaken routinely on campus and include, to date, the installation of two green roofs, with the third being installed as we speak. This being an educational institution, FIT also integrates sustainability issues into its curriculum. In 2010, it launched a pioneering master's degree program in Sustainable Interior Environments, prepping grads for careers in eco-conscious industries. 227 W. 27th St., 212-217-7999, fitnyc.edu
A store shows that everything can be eco-friendly, down to its sign.
Everything's green at this East Village shop, from the store's construction to its inventory. The six-year-old storefront was built from 300-year-old reclaimed lumber, uses recycled furniture fixtures throughout and even powers its sign with solar energy. The shelves are stocked with all-things sustainable, too, including organic beauty products, biodegradable home goods, fair trade jewelry and recycled paper. There's also an in-store café that sources locally made vegetarian and vegan dishes. Check it out on Earth Day, when all merchandise will be 10 percent off, and, from noon to 3 p.m., the restaurant's chef, Oscar Maccow, will lead a vegan food demo. 139 Avenue A, 212-254-5400, sustainable-nyc.com