Manhattan may be the only island in the world where the stirrings on land make it easy to forget that you're surrounded by water. Perhaps more than anything else, this is an island of immense interior distraction. Yet while water is for many an afterthought, not everyone surrenders to this landlocked self-image. I was born in Manhattan and lived in Washington Heights, not far from the Hudson River, until my parents moved to Miami Beach, where I mainly grew up. For me, water has always been the focal point of geographic identity. I always believed that the real action was in the waves, that mystery was off in the horizon, that true dreams were buried in the sand. When I finally returned to New York, I was instinctively drawn to the 79th Street Boat Basin, with its vista that captures the restorative and mystical wonders of water, even in Manhattan.