Eco NYC. [comments will be added in]

Via Waylon Lewis
on Sep 7, 2008
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I’m a Coloradoan. But half my family, my daddy’s side, is from NYC. I lived in Vermont and Boston for 13 years, and made a habit of visiting my uber New Yorker Uncle Jeff just as often as I could. He lived in Chelsea—not the one you see in Sex & the City episodes, all glam and fabulous—but a cramped, handsome yet dingy and fairly ordinary tree-lined street. He’d lived in NYC forever—he was the best guide ever, taking me to White Horse Tavern and John’s Pizzeria and gajillions of other spots he loved. Broadway, Empire State Building, Public Library, the Met…

On my visits these days, as a Buddhist eco boy, I’ve fallen for a few very different sort of spots:

A. Mindfullest Cafes: S’nice: If you want good veggie food, good music, hipsters galore, good coffee, wireless and a comfortable table from which to run your half-baked media empire, S’nice is verrry niiice, I liiike it a very much! 45 Eight Ave (at West 4th St).

B. Slow Foodiest Hipster Eateries: Diner, just a block or so shy of the Williamsburg Bridge. On my last visit, I went there three times in five days. I miss it all the time. Good, local food. Hip, lovely, Brooklyn waiters/waitresses/clientele. No sign. They butcher their own meat, if you go in for the stuff. Cafe Habana is so eco, their url is ecoeaterydotcom. I didn’t get into it, but everyone local seems to love it so maybe it was the company I kept, that night (an ex-love). They blend their margaritas via bike, it’s hip and colorful and probably wind-powered and shiite. Blah blah blah. Comment why you love it, I was only there once, but it’s gotta be a must-stop for eco-responsible turistas everywhere. Pure Food & Wine: I only went for drinks with a bunch of palz before running over to a Breast Cancer benefit hosted by Pangea Organics at ABC Home. I also checked out the East Village’s Angelica’s Kitchen, lovely and romantic. You can find info re it and a bunch of other organic/vegan type eateries here. Others: Also, here are a few restaurants: Caravan of Dreams (east village) Organic Grill (east village); Grey Dog’s Café (West Village) (212) 462 0041; Souen (Union Square) Bliss Café (Williamsburg, 718) 599-2547); there was also a place in Fort Greene I loved called Smooch.

C: Yoga Studios/Meditation Centers/Churches: I love the NYC Shambhala Center, it’s like a refuge in the scary, non-stop metropolis/state of mind that is NYC. Om Yoga. Virayoga. There’s many other brilliant yoga studios and mediation spots, and churches, but as this cowboy hasn’t been to ’em—please comment and include wwweb site. 

D. Bike Rental/Buy: Craigslist, or rent a bike affordably…where? I dunno.

E. Grocery shopping: farmers’ markets (of course there’s a well known one in Union Square). Whole Foods. What else?

Oh, not much of a Bonus, but here’s a video I put together, badly, after my last visit, too long ago. Skip to 2 minutes in: 



About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


3 Responses to “Eco NYC. [comments will be added in]”

  1. lindsey says:

    Oh how to comment when I’m homesick for NYC!I’ll follow Waylon’s lead but focusing on my favorite spots near my old home in Brooklyn:

    A. S’nice is great, and also just opened a new Park Slope location this summer, at 5th Avenue and 3rd Street. My favorite spot for just coffee however will always be Gorilla (, woman owned, all fair trade, much of it organic, and all of the tea organic as well, on 5th Ave at Park Place, a blissful 2 blocks from my old apartment. Now that was nice. I couldn’t find their site as they are newly opened, but Organic Heights on Bergen St. between 5th Ave and Flatbush Ave has good organic take-away and a full fridge of Guayaki bottled mate. My organic juice spot was also Urban Spring in Ft. Greene, muffins are also incredibly good and look their website is as gorgeous as their interior (

    B. A very good synopsis of eateries, Candle Cafe and Candle 79 ( are mainstays, and newbies Blossom ( and Gusto ( I have eaten at and loved. It’s notable that Gusto (on 6th ave near 14th St., not to be confused with another restaurant in the West Village) is the first certified organic restaurant in the city.
    Some of my favorite spots in Brooklyn however are Franny’s on Flabush Ave. for sustainable pizza (, Park Slope’s Applewood for a restaurant that’s devoted to local farmers (, and if you just want to support a long-time local spot? Hit Tom’s in Prospect Heights at 782 Washington Avenue, the kindest owner, and been there since way before Brooklyn became the coolest spot on earth. And yes I do love Habana, but the outpost in Ft. Greene is for me, never hit the one in the city. The mojitos and magaritas I think are expensive, but you can get a cheap local beer. Which is what I’d do with friends after work in the summer. I do like the eco decor and the local vibe, but perhaps like many things it is about the company. Oh and the Sunday night movies there are so fun! Goonies! Two more: for an after-dinner treat, hit either Blue Marble on Atlantic Avenue for organic ice cream ( or Oko also on 5th in the Slope for local frozen yogurt in compostable containers (

    C. I can also add that the kirtan at Integral Yoga is wonderful (, especially when Kamaniya comes to town! Joan Suvall also of Ananda Ashram, also leads Satsang every first Wednesday evening of the month at 7:30 at the Arch Space on W. 39th Street ( I always found it comforting to see her in the city when I couldn’t make it up the ashram (

    D. Recycle-A-Bicycle is worth adding here, both the non-profit’s educational initiatives and retail stores as well (

    E. Park Slope Food Co-op forever. Yes, I’m that big of a fan ( There’s also Brooklyn’s central farmers market at Grand Army Plaza every Saturday.

    One final addition (although I’m sure I forgot so many good spots!) is the newly launched Brooklyn Flea ( Of all the things I could have done on my last day in Brooklyn before moving, this was it, strolling with friends looking at all of the great vintage finds, and finishing up with a Blue Marble ice cream cone. Heaven.

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