Three decades after its turn as the poster child for urban blight, New York City is poised to become a model of a different sort: the eco-metropolis. In April, Mayor Bloomberg announced a visionary initiative called PlaNYC that would cut New York’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030; reduce traffic, noise, and auto emissions with "congestion pricing" charges for cars driving into Manhattan; plant one million trees; and put a park within a 10-minute walk of every New Yorker. (This, in addition to the 28,000 acres of existing parkland.) Already, the city is making great sustainable strides. Thanks to compact living spaces and effective public transportation (only 5 percent of New Yorkers commute into Manhattan by car), the average New Yorker’s CO2 output is less than a third of the national average. Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park has become something of a model community, with three LEED-certified residential high-rises, and two other groundbreaking apartment buildings, the Riverhouse and Visionaire, in the works. Throughout the city, there are stores and restaurants devoted to organic fashion and sustainable food. The only thing missing: a pair of leed-certified hotels, which are on the way. The 19-story Greenhouse 26 opens next year in Chelsea, with the Crosby Street Hotel, from the design-forward British group Firmdale following on its heels. How do you like them (green) apples?
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