Saturday, March 17, 2012

Earth Day In New York

The Green Apple Festival was a big part of Manhattan’s Earth Day a few years running until Peter Shapiro of Wetlands opened his own nightclub, the Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg. Grand Central Station remains the epicenter of all things green Earth Day NY weekend, with hundreds of exhibitors and a big stage on Vanderbilt Avenue. It gives an opportunity for sustainable fashion designers to come together around The GreenShows.

Back when the International Fashion Boutique Show was held at the Coliseum on Columbus Circle, the entire third floor was head shop exhibitors. A wild party for three days the NYPD turned a blind eye to. After the show moved to the Javits Center, it quietly did away with the hippie crowd, just as the 60’s were coming back in style. The boutique show lost its New York heart and moved to Vegas!

Fashion being such a big part of New York’s business lifestyle, the hemp movement keeps looking to legitimize the use of its fabrics in the garment district. Strategic marketing alliances with solar companies, green beauty products, and sustainable clothing designers are subtle but run deep.

Green product trade shows in New York City are notoriously difficult to produce, barely breaking even like EcoExpo or Go Green Expo. The Javits is a hard sell for the NY based green community. It's important to emphasize Green Festival will be held in the new, LEED certified, smaller, funkier space Javits Center North.

It wasn’t until the late 90’s, after a few failed attempts to merge a green bazaar with a rave at the Miami Beach Convention Center, that the idea finally saw life in San Francisco with Green America’s National Green Pages and tribal DJ Medicine Drum. Green Festivals have crisscrossed the country ever since, like Burning Man on wheels. This is its first time in Manhattan.

Alan Van De Kamp Grau, co-founder & vice president of Seven Star, the team producing Green Festival, tells us Philips is setting up a beautiful LED lighting display, which could be the hit of the show. In people’s minds, LEDs are the solution to old and dangerous power plants, the electricity they save picks up the slack.

The Indian Point nuclear power plant up the Hudson river is on everyone’s mind. Dr. Helen Caldicott, the legendary anti-nuclear activist who Alan calls the clearest voice on nuclear awareness, will speak Saturday April 21st. Green Festival is also hosting a No Nukes panel discussion with guests like Beyond Nuclear.

ABC Carpet & Home, the BIBAesque department store on Broadway, will exhibit their mission driven products. ABC regularly lends its own space to Riverkeeper for fund raising events. On April 26th, Riverkeeper is hosting its own star-studded Annual Fishermen's Ball at Chelsea Piers. Tables are $10.000. We need the 1% to put pressure on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Hundreds of eco-fashion and organic beauty exhibitors will attend Green Festival in New York April 21st and 22nd, the likes of Ellecante, Marlandia, Eco Art Productions, Dr. Bronner, Hawaiian Moon & Anjolie Ayurveda. I hope Manitoba Harvest will serve hemp shakes!

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