When I (Em) was in Paris a few months ago, I couldn’t figure out why the bridge behind Notre Dame was covered in thousands of tiny padlocks (plus a few bike locks). They weren’t there when Lo and I visited back in 2004. A quick bit of Googling (thanks to “wee-fee,” as the French call wifi) and I learned that they were “love locks” — a fairly recent tradition wherein couples celebrate their love (and, perhaps, hope to ensure its survival) by affixing a padlock to a romantic bridge and tossing the key into the river below. They might also attach a ribbon to the padlock, or simply adorn it with their initials. When I was there, enterprising young salespeople were selling new padlocks at each end of the bridge in case you were moved to do the same.
What’s the carbon footprint of a night out barhopping? I’m not sure anyone’s actually measured that specifically, but a developing world staple seems to be catching on as a low-carbon transportation alternative for tourists and college students who’ve had a few too many: the pedicab.
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel gift shop
Think of a hotel or tourist destination gift shop as a place full of cheap crap likely made by underpaid workers in the developing world? In most cases, you’re spot on. At Yellowstone National Park’s Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, though, concessionaire Xanterra Parks & Resorts is aiming for a very different kind of gift shop experience: one that educates shoppers on the effects of global warming, and the lifecycle of the gifts they purchase.
A kinder and gentler traffic in Times Square.
Finally catching up to many European cities who have made their city centers “pedestrian only” for years, New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg has closed Broadway to vehicular traffic between 47th and 42nd Streets straight through the middle of Times Square in New York City. Bloomberg says that clearing both Times Square and Herald Square (from 35th to 33rd Streets on Broadway) of motorized vehicles will lower the number of pedestrian accidents and cut down on pollution.