On Tuesday, I traveled by bus from New Paltz, Ulster County, New York to NYC, excited to pick up my Prius the next day to begin my month long journey with a Prius Plug-In-Hybrid. (See end of post for background info about the 2013 Prius Plug-In-MPG Challenge.)
Upon arriving at the Port Authority on 42nd street, I was, literally, just steps away from Element, Times Square West where I stayed the night before picking up my Prius.
|Entrance Element, Times Square West in NYC
Element is a great location because it is a short walking distance to all the subway lines, both for the East and West sides of Manhattan, Uptown or Downtown and going to Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx. (Anyone coming to visit NYC really needs to take the subway and experience all the boroughs to get the full, real, diverse flavor of NYC.)
The first thing I noticed upon entering Element is how really great it smells inside. The pleasing quality of the air was very subtle, but I noticed it immediately upon entering the lobby from the sometimes grungy hubbub of a frenetic city. As soon as I left 39th Street, I sensed something soothing and relaxing. When I mentioned this sensation to Russell Porter, Director of Sales for the hotel, he told me that, like Element, all of the Starwood Hotels have their own scent and that Element is infused with the scent of green tea.
I can tell you that clean, healthy indoor air quality, pyschologically and physically, makes a real difference to me, as I have become more chemically sensitive and in tune with the air and environment that surrounds me. Even if one does not feel overly sensitive to chemicals and air quality, good air, indoors and out, does make a real difference in how we feel, whether it is super noticeable or not.
|Lounge Area off the Lobby of Element
Each Element hotel is built green from the ground up. All are powered by 100% renewable energy. The hotel interior throughout uses eco-friendly materials and fabrics. All of the carpeting, paints, adhesives and wall covers have low content VOC (volatile organic compounds) which do not off gas any unpleasant or harmful gasses and minimize airborne pollutants.
|Russell Porter, Director of Sales, and Vickiana Castillo, Sales Manager of Element
|View of Hudson River from Private Roof Deck at Element, Times Square West
This international group of committed Waterkeepers started out as a small group of environmental activists who wanted to clean up the Hudson River from decades of industrial pollution. Waterkeeper now helps protect the world's water on every continent to make sure the waters of the world are swimmable, drinkable and fishable!
The success of a small group of concerned citizens, who turned their love of the Hudson River into a worldwide advocacy platform, tells us two things. One, small steps can lead to big accomplishments. And two, You Gotta Love New York!!!
And, before I forget. The Element's private rooftop terrace offers stunning views of the Empire State Building, the Hudson River and Midtown Manhattan.
|View from roof deck of Element, Times Square West in NYC
You do not truly experience NYC until you experience it from above. At Element, the birds eye views are without crowds, and a quick elevator ride from the comfort of your room.
|Another view from roof deck of Element, Times Square West, NYC
I will be reporting for the next month on Wave Two of the 2013 Prius Plug-In-MPG Challenge. Keep checking in to read about some amazing environmental advocates and news about sustainable, amazing New York State.
The winner of the challenge will receive a $2,500 donation to the charity of their choice.
For the next 30 days (from July 12th to Aug 12th), I will be driving a Prius Plug-In-Hybrid as part of the 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in-MPG Challenge. Toyota has partnered with seven prolific environmental influencers (myself included) from the tri-state area for Wave Two of the 2013 Prius Plug-In-MPG Challenge – a fun competition to help educate local communities on the benefits of electric vehicles.
The charity I am competing for is New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance, a global movement of on-the-water advocates who patrol and protect over 100,000 miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in North and South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa.
Copyright 2013 Paul E McGinniss