originally published September 11, 2007
Dear New York,
We’ve been together a long time and although I’m terribly unfaithful, you always welcome me back with open arms because you know no matter how many states I’ve slept in, I’m yours. And truth be told, I love you. You’re my city – center of the universe – and there will never be another to take your place in my heart. DC and Maine were fun, North Carolina’s been good to me, and I’ll never forget the college years in Boston.. but New York – you ROCK my world! You’ll always be home.
Two years ago I composed an OpEd to commemorate the fourth anniversary of September 11 – the very worst side of humanity I’ve experienced. I wrote about how many people my town lost, the courage of firefighters and policemen, and how the terrorists may have taken down our towers, but they damn straight didn’t destroy the life and substance and grit and beauty of the city that never sleeps. No one ever can, thank God. Or Allah. Or Horus. Or Sagan. Or PZ or whatever religious leader or lack thereof you like best. We’ll never forget that horrible Tuesday, but as we remember the loved ones we lost with the WTC, the planes, the war and so on… the best we can do to move past the sorrow is to celebrate you New York City. Your perseverance, your spirit, your culture and life. And this is ScienceBlogs after all, so what better way here and now than to point out a few of the green reasons you’re the greatest city on the planet!
Here goes, hold on tight:
1) You’re a world leader in the fight against global warming and the most energy-efficient city in America.
2) New Yorkers consume less than half of the electricity (7.1 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually on average) than someone who lives in San Francisco (11.2 on average). Texans, by the way, consume on average 75% more electricity. Those crazy Texans!
3) Our stoplights are powered by energy efficient LED lights.
4) The Big Apple’s public transportation boasts the highest use. Sure tourists get confused, but it’s kind of funny.
5) We’ve got the largest fleet of hybrid vehicles in the country.
6) My grandma was right that NYC’s water is okay to drink – we get it unfiltered from the Catskills.
7) The dense population encourages walking and biking (emissions-free and healthy) and keeps energy use down because of our smaller-than-average dwellings.
8) We’ve got practically no sprawl since the city can’t expand out. Instead we construct on vacant lots leading to higher density leading to… (you guessed it!) more environmentally friendly living.
9) Recycling is encouraged everywhere.
10) The green market program makes local foods available in neighborhoods across the city.
11) Central Park is incredible and lots more parks, plazas, and green spaces, are planned.
12) Green building is going on all over the place.
And that’s only the beginning. Museums, festivals, music, zoos, parades, Christmas in Manhattan, roasting nuts and hot pretzels, Times Square, Broadway, sports, poetry, literature, skyscrapers, Alphabet city, Harlem and the Village. The stimulation never stops. We both know I can’t get enough or better anywhere. And no matter where I wander, I always come back don’t I? I love you New York. You’ve got everything I need — style, diversity, food, art, and with the whole green-living thing – you know how to please. I’m heading home to you tomorrow and I can’t wait… You’re the best baby and always will be!