North Salem Man Wants To Zip You Over The Urban Jungle

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North Salem's John Finnegan is launching a business called Urban Jungle Zip Lines. Photo Credit: Courtesy of John Finnegan

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – North Salem’s John Finnegan is launching a business, quite literally. He hopes to bring the outdoor adventure known as zip-lining to the big city (and its suburbs).

Zip-lining is similar to taking a ski-lift, without the chair. The rider is suspended from a cable by a nylon strap and flies from point to point at about 40 mph. Distances can very from 500 to more than 3,500 feet. Time spans vary from 30 seconds to a few minutes.

The sport is popular in outdoor vacation areas, but, in Finnegan’s urban concept, you could zoom through the New York skyline or over Central Park. He even considered zip-lining over Times Square, but the approval process was too complicated.

“The biggest challenge in this business is the licensing and permitting,” Finnegan said. “Insurance is readily available. It’s a very safe sport. It’s something everyone can do. The only athletic ability you need is none. There’s a wonderful feeling of letting go.”

Finnegan grew up in Boulevard Gardens, Queens. “It’s a private development with 960 families,” he said. “That’s about the same number that we have in all of North Salem.”

He spent more than 20 years in finance, but now works for Professional Sports Publications. “About two years ago, I got to thinking about what your therapist or your high school guidance counselor would advise. ‘Do something you love and eventually you’ll find out it’s your career.’

“I don’t love selling ads, but I do love this area, from Long Island all the way up to the mountains, and especially New York City. And then I thought that flying through the city would be a great experience.”

The authorities at New York’s Bryant Park are considering the venture, he said. So is the management of the Ridge Hill Mall in Yonkers.

“We’re in the illusion business,” said Finnegan. “Zip-lining gives the illusion of danger while it’s one of the safest things out there.”

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