Around 10:30 this morning, when the opening ceremony for the Times Square InterContinental Hotel was supposed to have started, Peter Kohlman rearranged six pairs of pruning shears on a silver tray. Mr. Kohlmann, president of PeKo, which organized the event at the hotel’s 300 West 44th Street entrance, released the shears’ safety latches and placed them in ready position.
An hour later, the shears would be used to cut a man-made “vine,” composed from pieces of plants: anthurium, hosta, English ivy and umbrella fern. The vine, in place of a ribbon, was a nod to the “greenness” of the hotel, which will be the largest LEED-certified hotel in the city. The certification isn’t yet official, but Dan Tishman, chairman of the National Resources Defense Council, said he expects the hotel will receive the Silver rating.
“Because the hotel is ‘green’ we wanted to use the whole idea of all ‘green,'” said Ivan Hall, who works with Kuki Design, which built the vine. “All of this will be recycled afterward.”
Drew Schlesinger, general manager of the hotel, ascended the stage just before 11, kicking off the festivities. “I’m here to celebrate the ‘green’ opening of this hotel,” he said.
He introduced Jim Anhut, senior vice president of franchise development for InterContinental hotels, who talked about his own contributions to “greenness.”
“This is my contribution to LEED certified: I recycled my boarding pass and wrote my speech on that,” he said. “We’ll compare that later to the mayor with his little iPad.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who also stood on stage, smiled. He had been reviewing notes on his trusty iPad.
“This is jobs—J-O-B-S for Jets fans—jobs for our city,” Mr. Bloomberg said in his speech. He spoke optimistically about the hotel industry, saying that occupancy rates in May 2010 were the highest of any period since 2002. He called the new InterContinental “not only one of the greatest hotels in the world but also the ‘greenest.'”
“This is a wonderful day for New York,” he said. “I hope we have a lot more of them.”