The Jungle is full of natural diversity. It hums with the sound of insects. Thousands of exoskeletons clack together to some mad rhythm beyond my understanding. Exotic birds paint color onto the canvas of the many greens that crowd the jungle. Frogs croak to some ancient evolutionary beat. These are the images that come to mind when I think of the Jungle.
New York is an urban inverse of the jungle: a man- made world of unnatural diversity. The city is a manifestation of a million imaginations rubbing elbows in a sweaty pot of modern economics. The crash and ding of consumerism fills the streets. Everyone has somewhere to go, and no one is where they are. If you are wandering, like I was, you pretend you’re on a mission and you make yourself walk as though you have a place to be. Relaxing is contrary to the scene.
This city is the unimaginable imagined. I find it hard to believe that once it was New Amsterdam, and that Holland traded it with England in exchange for a small island somewhere in Indonesia. If these empires knew the fate of this flat island on the edge of America I imagine that this moment of enlightened diplomacy would not have been so smooth. No one could have predicted that it would become the throbbing heart of capitalism. But what fantasy fuels this mega metropolis? What strange and twisted value system motivates it? What draws the cities beautiful women to step into high heals and strut like royal cats down gum covered sidewalks? What lives in the hearts of the suits that wage war each day in the skyscrapers? What dreams sustain the homeless in this city?
I love to visit New York but I fear that if I had to live amongst the madness I’d have to alter my DNA. I read an article once about how the city is developing its own species of mice –not intentionally, but just by the fact that being a city mouse is dramatically different than being a country mouse and the genes of New Yorks rodents show it. If New York is still throbbing to the same mad beat in a thousand years, I think we may have to make a subspecies for Homo sapien. Maybe Homo sapiens metropolis or Homo Sapien work-harderus.
In spite of all its human wonders, I think the crowning glory of New York is Central Park. As I flew into the city I got to see the whole island from a birdseye view. It gives me hope that such a massive city has been able to keep a large mass of green in the center of it.