Green Club Grows in Manhattan, Far From the Wetlands

The President-Elect has assured us that the "new green energy economy" will be a plus for the nation's finances. Several eco-conscious club owners, a New York Times article shows today, are already giving it a go, with recyclable coasters, "waterless urinals and low-flow sinks," high-efficiency ventilation and lighting systems, etc. And, working in the Obama socialism angle, one San Francisco entrepreneur says he'll "share... best practices with our competitors," putting people before profits in a way those of us who've dealt directly with club owners (and even the Times!) find remarkable.

New York's newly-opened Greenhouse avails every green option you can think of (including having only a splash page at its website, thereby discouraging wasteful multiple clicks); it "purchases wind power credits to offset all of the energy that it uses" and its paneling uses wood that was "gathered in an eco-friendly manner." These measures "are unlikely to make up for the extra up-front costs in under ten years," which the club's green consultant calls "a good learning experience" -- perhaps for us all.

A previous story in the Daily Green reported that Greenhouse, which offers "$375 bottles of yummy green 360 Vodka" and with more traditional fare, drew for a preview night patrons who were "completely different from the usual suspects that show up at NYC green events," which has to be propitious. Nonetheless the Times says post-launch "opinion was mixed as to whether its eco-friendly features would augment the club's hot-or-not reputation." The club expects its green cred will attract celebrities eager to support and share in it; the club is also looking for tax breaks. (A June Observer story detailed other local clubs' efforts in this regard.)

This sort of thing is easy to mock, but it puts us in mind of the late Wetlands club, which had neither the resources nor the glamour quotient to pull this sort of thing off and is not mentioned in the Times story. They were easy to make fun of, too, but they stuck at it a while and linger in the collective memory of clubland. Might its denimed shoulder have pushed the wheel of progress a little in this regard? We would pour out a bottle of 360 Vodka in its memory if we could afford it.

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