I have a lot of ideas. As I said before, I have way too many unfinished stories saved and buried somewhere in my computer. In the odd case where I do develop one of them, one of my main concerns is making sure everything would make sense outside of the page. Thus, a good chunk of my writing is spent researching.

In Welcome to New York, I write about a lot of things I don’t know – living in New York, having a baby, working at a coffee shop, auditioning for theater, owning a business, among many others. Some of the questions that these situations raised were:
Could a waitress with a baby afford an apartment in NYC?
How do you get into Broadway plays? What is an equity card?
What do you need to open your own business?

And a lot of these questions were accompanied by a where. Where would they live? Where would they go to work? Where would one open a tea shop? Where would I find a family mansion in the UK?

As I told you, my writing is very visual. So, after figuring out some of these technical issues, I started to wander about in the streets of New York and Oxford to find the perfect spots for every key place in the story. Sadly, I didn’t do that in person. But you don’t really need to leave your house to see the world anymore, do you? Yay, Google Earth!

So, today is all about places and how I found them.

The first place I needed to find was Alana’s apartment. With that first question I wrote above in mind, I started looking where would someone like her live. And after browsing countless apartment renting websites (and finding all my results outrageous, wow, really NYC?) and walking aimlessly through the most affordable neighborhoods, I was happy to choose Washington Heights as her home. More specifically, this apartment building:

This is exactly where I pictured her living before I even started looking. Also, the fact that she could just walk down Broadway Avenue whenever she felt like was a big reason for choosing this neighborhood.

This is also where Green Bean would be, as it is located within walking distance from Alana’s place. And it would look like this:

Adorable, right?

As for Harry’s place, I never got to pinpoint exactly where it is or what it would look like, mainly because we were never there. I think in the whole of the book we only got to see it once? The only thing I know is that it’s located around Greenwich Village. Now, I know how much it costs to live there, but since Harry lives alone and owns virtually nothing, I think I could get away with it. And it was important to be somewhere near Washington Square Park.

Because his future tea shop is located literally across the street.

This is an apartment building. According to my research, it is home for the faculty of NYU. I have no idea what its ground floor looks like, but I’m pretty sure it’s not an abandoned construction site and that it would not be rented for a commercial establishment. But doesn’t it look perfect? Can’t you see the Parisian tables outside? The little blackboard signs? Some flower vases near the entrance? Wouldn’t you like to sit down and have some tea overlooking the park? I’m sure you agree with me.

Still in the topic of Harry, I also found his family home in Oxford:

Pretty impressive, don’t you think? This house is located nearby the Oxford University:

I don’t know about you, but I’d love for Harry to give me a tour of this place.

And another real-life place I used in the book was the Rose Hill cemetery:

It’s also near Harry’s family home, and as pretty and simple as I imagined it to be.

The only other place I researched – or tried to – was O’Malley’s. Guys… do you have any idea of how many O’Malley’s are there in NYC? If you’re curious, just have a look on Google. I think it’s safe to say it’s a pretty common name for an Irish pub.
I had a very specific idea of what it would look like in my mind, and I found something very close:

Just change their sign for the neon four-leaf-clover I imagined in the book and you’ll have it.

That’s it, folks! These are the places where the majority of Welcome to New York happens. Are they anything like how you imagined them? Is there any other place you would like to have a visual for? Tell me!

Tomorrow I’ll tell you a little bit about inspiration – specifically about the title of the book. Do you have any guesses as where it came from?

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