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Jungle Lovers

“What is New York City like?” I asked. My guidance counselor put his hands behind his head with elbows spread wide, leaned back, and with great deliberateness and the authority of a worldly, street-smart, experienced man, answered, “Have you heard of the concrete jungle, kid? Because that’s what it’s like. Between 23rd Street and 59th Street. It’s a jungle. A concrete jungle.”

With that and some college catalogs, I was supposed to make an informed decision about the merits of attending university in New York City, a decision that would shape my entire life.

I am not sure if his depiction of midtown Manhattan was intended as a deterrent, a strong warning, or just meant to impress me with his knowledge of this city, but we all know that if you tell a child not to do something, he/she will just be spurred on to do it. I was.

At 18, a jungle is just what I wanted. After all, I had read numerous African adventure books and even took out a book in Swahili in high school, in the event that I found myself in equatorial Africa. If I couldn’t have vines, monkeys in trees, and tropical birds, then concrete would do fine. And, like the jungle, New York City would be an adventure. That is what I wanted most.

A jungle is a great, even if overused, metaphor for New York City. It has a density of growth and, at times and places, can appear nearly impenetrable. Scary to some, and exciting to those who like a sense of adventure and the unexpected.

If you want to truly enjoy NYC, then treat it like a jungle. Just walk with your eyes open. Don’t be afraid to interact with strangers, and you will meet some incredible people. There are many treasure maps, both online and offline, to New York City. Use them, of course, but also cut a swath and blaze your own paths. Enjoy the adventure. Happy New Year, jungle lovers :)

15 Responses to Jungle Lovers

  1. Wow…Is all I can say. I'm 18 years old and thinking of attending college in New York. Also, I am looking for adventure! You have just made my decision for me!

  2. Brian Dubé says:

    Markissa – Wow back to you. I didn't know my writing could have that much influence. That said, this way to the jungle :)

  3. An Honest Man says:

    One of the pleasures of your blog Brian is that you never know what's coming next!

    Happy New Year and keep posting.

  4. Canadian Observer says:

    Our family of four visited NYC for the Thanksgiving weekend this year. I can only say that it endeared itself to us beyond measure.

    I think that with, or without, your teacher's input, Brian, you made a very wise decision.

    I've bookmarked your site and will be coming back again and again.

  5. Chuck Pefley says:

    And a Happy New Year to you, too, Brian!

  6. Brian Dubé says:

    An Honest Man – When I write, I often do not know what is coming next either.

    Canadian Observer – It was wise to come here. I do hope u become a regular visitor/reader.

    Chuck – Happy New Year! Thanks for being a long time regular.

  7. It is always a pleasure to visit your blog! Always great write ups and wonderful views of one of my favorite places..;) A concrete jungle indeed..with warm & of great pleasures!

  8. Happy New Year! :) I hope it brings you wonderful jungle life and many great photos and stories you can write for us.

  9. ann f Border says:

    Happy new year !

  10. Please i like your blog and could you tell me which example you took with black background?
    Thanks. Your photos seem huge.

  11. missb@dragonflyvintage says:

    she's a beauty, that jungle…

  12. Jamie Pang says:

    Happy New Year Brian! Looking forward to more stories!

  13. thumpathumpa says:

    I thought I'd died and gone to Heaven when I recently found your blog.
    I love this city so much! It makes my body and mind come alive.
    I visit as often as I can and will eventually move there, whether it be in Manhattan or the surrounding NY areas.
    Thank you for your blog, Happy New Year, and please keep posting!


  14. Ted and Lori says:

    Yes! Great description! We just returned from a month there, staying on 29th, in the heart of that jungle. Fantastic.

  15. I just can´t wait coming back to New York City! Till this very, very precious moment, my friend, who found this link and sent it to me, helps me – until September – sigh – per "mind travelling" with your amazing pictures. Thank you very, very much, Brian for this work!

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