Green Hotels: Spotlight on Crosby Street Hotel, New York City

The Rooftop Kitchen Garden at Crosby Street Hotel
The Rooftop Kitchen Garden at Crosby Street Hotel

In Manhattan, it can be tough to find a whole lot of green outside of Central Park (except for maybe the occasional desk plant). But a handful of hotels have begun to incorporate more green into their daily operations, and we found a hotel that has found a unique way to bring a little bit of nature to its hip downtown location.

The Crosby Street Hotel in the heart of SoHo recently started its Rooftop Kitchen Garden. And while plenty of hotels these days are using herbs and veggies from their own gardens, Crosby Street takes it a step further: Not only is its garden producing watermelons and chicken eggs, but it also serves the higher purpose of "green roof," meaning it keeps heating and cooling costs down by absorbing heat from the sun.

What comes out of the garden

The garden at Crosby Street grows blueberries, tomatoes, flowers, herbs, and even watermelons (which they recently used in cocktails at the Crosby Street Terrace Bar). They also recently installed a chicken coop that has four chickens running around, aptly named Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx, and Queens (sorry, Staten Island). The chickens are still young but should be producing eggs (which the hotel plans to use in their kitchen) starting in October. Nice to know where your omelet began its journey, right?

How it works

Although the garden only occupies a section of the roof (it's 2000 square feet), the entire garden is covered soil. What's it all about? Green roofs provide insulation, thereby helping to lower heating and cooling costs. They also reduce storm water runoff (which can be a major pollutant), protect the roof itself (essentially doubling its lifetime), and manage water more efficiently allowing for plant growth in less soil with less potable water. The hotel's roof has been designed and maintained by Goode Green, a New York firm that had the innovative idea to minimize the emissions of commercial and residential buildings by turning roofs into gardens. You can read about the other projects by Lisa and Chris Goode on the Goode Green website.

A green hotel, beyond just the garden

Opened in October 2009, the hotel was built with the hope and expectation that it would achieve LEED Gold Certification, the second highest rating given by the U.S. Green Building Council. The rooftop garden is only one part of the hotel's larger green initiative, though surely it's an excellent example of how being environmentally conscious in the hotel industry can be creative and out of the ordinary.

Some of the other things the Crosby Street Hotel has tried to do to maximize their environmental responsibility include:

  • Maximizing open space for guests (AKA its sculpture garden) in order to promote biodiversity
  • Reducing water usage
  • Recycling and using recyled good and materials throughout the hotel
  • Using regional materials for all construction, which reduced the hotel's carbon footprint during building
  • Although the hotel doesn't offer bicycles, it encourages minimal automobile usage by having bicycle racks and shower/changing facilities for its clients, visitors and employees.
  • Even little things, like using eco-friendly cleaning products, can go a long way towards receiving LEED certification.

Although the hotel is expecting to receive LEED certification, they're still waiting to hear on the final verdict. First they'll find out if the building is LEED certified, which will happen relatively soon, and then after a few years of being up and running they'll find out if they're also certified for maintenance and operations. Buildings are evaluated using a point system, and each of the above bullets gains the hotel points towards their certification. If you are interested in other environmentally conscious hotels, you can read about all of's LEED-certified hotels here.

More green gardens

The Sculpture Garden at Crosby Street Hotel
The Sculpture Garden at Crosby Street Hotel

Although we got to take a special look around the garden (it does exist!), guests generally aren't invited up to the roof. However, guests craving a little green in their lives can book the Meadow Suite, whose French doors open up onto the suite's 350-square-foot "meadow." The meadow supposedly has more than 50 varieties of flowers, and the room is popular for brides and grooms. On the ground floor of the hotel is the hotel's sculpture garden (if you look up you can see "the meadow"), which is dotted with plenty of greenery in addition to art. Both the sculpture garden and the meadow are maintained by Goode Green.

Photo credits: Top two photos courtesy of Firmdale Hotels; bottom photo

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