For me, one of the most confusing parts of the island is Lower Manhattan – Downtown and all the neighborhoods south of 23rd Street. This is an old part of NYC, quirky and engaging. You can feel it as you walk around. Many of the streets have names, rather than numbers. They bend and curve and connect at odd angles, unlike the straight lines and crisp corners of Midtown and the Upper East and West Sides. For me, Lower Manhattan is always confusing, never straightforward, even a little disorienting.
In Inland, when I needed to write a particularly disruptive scene for the main character, Cat, I knew I would set it in Lower Manhattan. I choose the corner of 7th Avenue and Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, a baffling intersection of several different streets that always left me consulting a map in order to navigate it. This area of NYC stands in stark contrast to the regular, predictable order of the Upper East Side, where Cat lives. If your main character is going to have her world turned upside down, you might as well set the scene in a place that won’t easily allow her to regain her bearings. Lower Manhattan has an abundance of such places to choose from. Take a stroll through these neighborhoods, get turned around, see for yourself – then break out a map.