Venturing into Manhattan and hanging around Times Square, Central Park or the Village is a rite of passage shared by many suburban kids. But to be a teenager growing up in the Garden State is to have an especially complex relationship with New York. It is to be close enough to feel the city's big beat, but to be far enough removed to feel its absence from your own life; to be familiar with the otherworldly skyline and regal avenues, but still to be an out-of-towner; to crave New York's bottomless well of excitement, but to fear its dangers. [nyt]
Along with anecdodes from famous suburbanites like Rick Moody (Demonology) and Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) are stories of New Jersey kids who essentially treat Manhattan like a big mall.