Okay so I've just about finished the first draft of my urban fantasy story, and I have a bit of a problem. I started out with the intention of having the book based in New York City. It was the perfect setting for some of the scenes I had in mind. But as I started writing, it became all too apparent that I didn't have the knowledge to flesh out the details of some the scenes with the level of accuracy required to make it sound authentic. See, I live quite some distance from New York. On the other side of the world, actually, and my grasp of the city is based solely on watching Gossip Girl( okay okay and the plethora of other films and tv shows set in the place, but Gossip Girl's the most fun, hehe). So things like street names, buildings, suburbs, demographics, the different sectors are all hazy to me. How far is the Upper East side from Brooklyn? Which is the ideal hotel to stage my rooftop fight scene? How quick can you really wave down a taxi in Manhattan? Which parts of the city border the Hudson River? How do they look? What types of trees and flowers grow in Central Park? How crowded is Central Park at certain times of the day? It's questions like these that I feel I need a difinitive answer to if I'm going to create a New York that's believable. But they can't simply be googled, at least not with a tremendous amount of sifting. It's said you should write around the familiar. But my story needs a big flashy city like New York. Right now I'm leaning towards a made-up city. Something like Gotham City or Metropilis. But I can't help but feel the story would pack more punch if it was grounded in a real city. It would make the fantastical elements that much more intriguing. As it stands in the first draft, I've used the names I'm familair with ie, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge etc, but I've made up most of the other stuff, streets, buildings etc. not feeling comfortable to write about some random name of a map I'm not 100 percent clued up on. How about you guys? Have any of you ever had this problem when trying to base a story in a city you've never visited. Do you think a made up modern day American city is a viable option or should I find some way to research New York till I have a firm understanding of it? If so what are the best ways of doing so?