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Thirteen miles with my teenager

I live on a tiny island. A mere 13.4 miles from end to end – shorter than Nantucket – and so narrow in points you can walk from its western shore to its eastern edge in minutes. You'd think in a place so small, it'd be impossible not to know every nook and cranny of it. But Manhattan is a wildly provincial place. To look at most maps of it, you'd think it disappeared somewhere around 125th Street, though it goes on for another hundred blocks. To watch movies or read New York Times stories about trendy restaurants or interesting locals, you'd get a picture of place that exists only from the Upper West Side to Wall Street. But for the past seven years, my vantage point from the northernmost tip of the borough has served as a daily reminder that this city is more complicated than that. It's far more than meets the eye. It's a work in progress. It's beautiful and mysterious frequently exasperating. It is, in fact, in many ways very much like my 13-year-old daughter. And so, one recent bright spring day, she and I decided to go exploring together, in the place we call home.

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