Moving to the Big Apple is something that I had dreamt about for years in my younger years. A big part of the reason I decided to become a flight attendant was the opportunity to finally get a taste of life in one of the most exciting cities in the world. I lived in Brooklyn for one year, and while I no longer call NYC my “permanent home,” being based out of NYC has allowed me to explore much of what the city has to offer. What I love about this city is that you could literally spend a lifetime here and still not have uncovered all of its little gems and secrets.
By no means is this a comprehensive guide to everything New York City has to offer. As a conscious consumer, I’m always seeking out local restaurants and businesses that value social responsibility and environmental sustainability. This guide is written for those of you who are interested in these types of establishments.
Ellary’s Greens | West Village | A beautiful, health-focused restaurant with a farm-to-table ethos and an extensive menu of gourmet, largely plant-based dishes.
Dimes | LES | This small, artsy establishment has a menu of healthy items like chia pudding, acai bowls, a quinoa bowl, and “love toast.”
Rosemary’s | Greenwich Village | This beautiful Italian trattoria sources ingredients right from its very own rooftop garden. It’s a lovely spot for date night.
Mulberry & Vine | Tribeca | A great place to stop for a healthy, delicious lunch in between shopping and sight-seeing. Food is served cafeteria-style and they have many vegan and vegetarian options.
The Butcher’s Daughter | Soho | Although this place is no “secret gem,” it is still one of my favorite restaurants in NYC. They make an incredible avocado toast, as well as juices, smoothies, hot drinks, and a variety of fantastic plant-based meals. Live greenery makes up most of the decor and water is served out of glass jars with fresh mint leaves.
ABC Kitchen | Union Square | This is definitely a “special occasion” kind of restaurant with a seasonal, organic, farm-to-table menu.
Jivamuktea Cafe | Union Square | This all-vegan organic cafe, which is attached to Jivamukti Yoga, makes for some great post-yoga nourishment.
Beyond Sushi | several locations | A vegan sushi restaurant chain that makes the most bomb sushi rolls, wraps, and salads. Honestly, their sushi has so much more flavor than traditional seafood sushi rolls. Who needs mercury when you have somewhere like Beyond Sushi?
Jack’s Wife Freda | Nolita + West Village | This popular brunch spot offers a Mediterranean-influenced menu, several vegan options, and an updated diner feel.
Hu Kitchen | Union Square | A cafeteria-style lunch spot that caters to paleo, vegan, and generally healthy eaters. Their upstairs section is also a great spot to hang out and work on your computer.
Tomkins Square Bagels | East Village | I love popping in here after a night out for a bagel sandwich with vegan cream cheese, avocado, and roasted red peppers.
Juice Press | Inventive juices, smoothies, and vegan snacks.
Liquiteria | This is my favorite juice chain in Manhattan (I love their almond butter acai bowl).
FIKA | A Scandinavian chain of coffee shops throughout Manhattan. They make really great coffee and sell a variety of Swedish specialty food items.
Toms | Soho | Attached to one of Toms Shoes’ flagship stores is a cafe serving up fair-trade coffee drinks and pastries.
Kaffe 1668 | Tribeca | I love the overall design and vibe of this coffee shop. There’s a massive wooden bench in a room downstairs that feels super cozy. They also make really delicious “energy bites” that taste like dessert.
Chalait | West Village | I love the matcha green tea lattes (and the natural lighting) at this small West Village espresso and tea shop.
ABC Kitchen & Home | Union Square | The Barney’s of conscious consumerism. Take your time browsing through the different departments dedicated to fashion apparel, jewelry, cosmetics, home goods, furniture, books, and more.
Alternative Apparel | Soho | Affordable basics made with non-toxic dyes, an emphasis on sustainable fabrics, and eco-friendly production practices.
Cap Beauty | Your destination for natural, clean beauty products and superfoods, also featuring a spa for eco-friendly treatments.
Chelsea Market | Chelsea | A trip to the Big Apple wouldn’t be complete without an hour or two spent perusing and eating your way through the famed Chelsea Market. Shop handmade goods from Artists & Fleas and taste ethnic dishes from one of the many specialty food outposts.
Love, Adorned | Soho | A boutique selling a collection of vintage and contemporary jewelry as well as a variety of other handcrafted goods.
Moo Shoes | Soho | A 100% vegan fashion retailer specializing in cruelty-free footwear, handbags, and accessories.
Red Flower | Soho | Non-toxic beauty products and perfumes.
Reformation | Soho, LES | Arguably, the brand that finally made “eco fashion” cool.
Strand | A beautiful book store selling used, new, and rare books and regularly hosting events and book signings.
Teich | West Village | An adorable pint-sized boutique in West Village selling children’s toys, home goods, cosmetics, and other knick-knacks.
Toms | Soho | Grab a fair-trade coffee at the cafe in the front then browse the wide selection of Toms shoes. In case you aren’t already familiar with this company, Toms is one of the major pioneers of social entrepreneurism.
Warby Parker | Soho | Much like the Toms business model, Warby Parker offers affordable, stylish eyeglasses and partners with non-profits to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, one is given to someone in need.
YOGA & FITNESS
Jivamukti Yoga | This yoga school and studio offers a variety of yoga classes for all levels of experience as well as a spa, a shop, and an all-vegan cafe (as mentioned above).
Yoga to the People | A donation-based yoga studio with several locations throughout Manhattan, plus one in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The studios are beautiful and I love the more laid-back atmosphere of the classes here. Yoga shouldn’t cost an arm, a leg, and a $200 Lululemon outfit, and YTTP proves it.
Y7 Yoga | If you want to flow to hip hop and other upbeat tunes in a candlelit room, this is the place to be.
Central Park | Hands down the best place to go for a run or a stroll to get away from the city bustle. The farther north you go, the less crowded it gets. Don’t be afraid to get a little lost (at least during the day time)!
Waterfront Run | Another one of my favorite places to go running is the waterfront path starting at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge in the Lower East Side, winding down through Battery Park, and then back up north along the Hudson River. You can make your run as short or long as you care for.
I hope this guide helps you navigate your way through your next conscious NYC getaway weekend. Look out for a Part II guide to Brooklyn in the near future. Let me know in the comments what your favorite spots are in the city!