I'm starting a new WIP and it is going to be based on one night in the city. New York City to be exact. As a New Yorker I'm just accustomed to calling it the city. It's habit. The first thing I had to decide was what part of the city will this story take place in. I could, if I wanted to, send my characters from China Town to Central Park and back, but I've walked that before and I wouldn't do that to them. I need to focus on one specific area of the city and because my character will be attending NYU in the fall I decided to keep the story in that general area.
This is where the problem comes in. I have been to this area on numerous occasions. However, I am not as familiar with it as say the area near and around Central Park. I am online researching the area but I feel like I won't be able to fully create the scenes without walking the streets and visiting all the locations, I plan to put in the story, myself. So my question for you is: When you write a story do you choose a place that you are familiar with? Or do you or have you used a location you have never been to before and rely on research?
I remember watching an interview with Stephanie Meyer (Yes I am using the Twilight creator as an example) she said she researched an area that has a substantial amount of rainfall and stumbled onto Forks. She had never been there before, but she wrote an entire series based on the area.
Forks, though was an unknown town until Stephanie Meyer chose it as the place to house Bella and Edward. New York City is one of the most popular and recognized cities in the world, there is no room for error. I can't have the characters bouncing around from location to location and going east when they should be going west. I'll be ripped apart for my inaccuracies. I guess it wouldn't be fun if it wasn't a challenge.
I'd love to hear what you all think on the subject. How do you choose the location for your WIP's?