On Earth Day, after a two year pilot program, New York tourism and government agencies unveiled a new “Green Heart” initiative meant to highlight the state’s eco-certified hotels, restaurants and attractions, as well as motivate residents and visitors to, well, get off Manhattan.
A new tourism website—complete with Milton Glaser’s famous red heart turned green—highlights 10 recommended itineraries throughout the state to make trip planning easy. Additionally, a list of eco-certified hotels recommends forward-thinking properties that were the first to receive a nod from the newly launched New York State Green Hotel Certification Program.
Some of the destinations highlighted aren’t too surprising, like Niagara Falls, Letchworth State Park and the Fire Island National Seashore. But the Empire State Building makes the list for energy-conservation efforts, as does the Storm King Art Center, a 500-acre museum and nature preserve in Mountainville, about an hour north of Manhattan near West Point. The Catskill Scenic Trail, a 19-mile stretch of abandoned rail bed that’s been reclaimed as a hiking and biking trail, is another interesting pick.
Restaurants across the state are also getting involved, thanks to a partnership with the Green Restaurant Association, which rates businesses not just on energy and waste management but also on the sustainability of their ingredients. Most of the places on the list to date are in New York City but tourism officials hope to sign on more restaurateurs as green travel throughout the state picks up.
Tourism officials have partnered with Amtrak to promote rail travel to the highlighted destinations, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car has signed on for those times you really do need a ride: the company brags that it has the country’s largest fleet of fuel-efficient cars and also undertakes a number of other green efforts.