Knowledge about NYC

Old Jun 9th, 2017, 05:18 PM
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Knowledge about NYC

Hi there guys! I'm a writer and my current book is set in NYC. The last time I was in NY was in 2014 so I dont remember much of the details.

My questions are

What parts of the city would somebody like visiting who has lived there their entire life,i.e. not touristy places?

Where do kids from low income families go for good education? Which borough etc.

Which train line would they catch if they're coming from a outer borough to the city to catch school in the morning?


I have many other questions, if somebody could answer. Much appreciated!
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Old Jun 9th, 2017, 06:39 PM
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Wouldn't they go to school in whatever district they live in? Unless you mean charter or private?

Just curious. I think you might get more information over on city data. Or, novel idea, actually visit NYC and refresh your memory.
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Old Jun 9th, 2017, 07:37 PM
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Are you going to share the royalties with us?
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Old Jun 9th, 2017, 08:02 PM
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As a writer who is a native NY'er, I can spot work that is not authentic. It is not only the locations, but how those locations are described. Then there is the language, what they eat, knowledge of things NY, how they comport themselves under certain circumstances, how and where they shop, where they work and NY problems. And the unwritten rules of the NY.

Here is but one example of what you need to know, for the most part Muslim Indians live in Brooklyn but Hindus and Sikhs live in Queens. There are more languages spoken in Queens than any where else in the world.

When I watch TV or a movie and they show a street that has is not a through street, I can tell in 1/2 second whether it is a set or shot on location by the stores and street lights. And so can probably 85% of NY'ers.

There are a number of exceptional schools in NYC. There has also been an effort to have exceptional schools in the boroughs as well.

The hardest school to get into right now is Hunter High School, but they only allow admissions starting in the 7th grade and no transfers. Thus a parent or a guardian would have to take the kid to school for a number of years.

Your sense of place must be a character unto itself. There are too many people who know NY, so there is a great burden on a serious writer.
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Old Jun 9th, 2017, 08:19 PM
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thursdaysd I don't have a book deal yet. I'm just writing it.

IMDonehere Hi thanks for all the info. My cousin's family live in the Bronx and I did too when I was in NYC, so my character(she's biracial) lives there too. Since you're a NewYorker what are some places you like to visit?
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Old Jun 9th, 2017, 08:56 PM
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They are too many to mention, but as I was born in Brooklyn and live in Manhattan, thus my knowledge of The Bronx is limited. Additionally people from Brooklyn do not like The Bronx and vice versa.

The Bronx is one of the poorest urban counties in the county. And if you write about The Bronx, ask your family for the local issues and trains.

I like Flushing, the East Village, Sunset Park (Brooklyn), Red Hook (Brooklyn) and Brighton Beach.
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Old Jun 10th, 2017, 03:54 AM
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Don't worry about the answers. Just try to make sure no one from NYC reads your book.
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Old Jun 10th, 2017, 05:31 AM
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If your main character is a high school student, you should decide if she is studying at one of the specialized schools.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specia..._New_York_City

To reach one of them, she might take any number of trains--it depends on where she lives in the Bronx. Chances are, she would take the train closest to her home, and then might or might not have to transfer to another train to reach her destination.
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Old Jun 10th, 2017, 05:42 AM
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Forgot to say, there are many other well-considered high schools with distinct programs that are not specialized list, such as Hunter High School already mentioned, to which a student might choose to travel. Here's some lists to explore:

http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnroll...es/default.htm

For your book, you can choose a real high school or, since you are a writer, create one that fits your desired location.
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Old Jun 10th, 2017, 10:22 AM
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I'm a writer and my current book is set in NYC. The last time I was in NY was in 2014 so I dont remember much of the details.

You might want to consider setting your story in a locale with which you are familiar with the details.

HTtY
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Old Jun 11th, 2017, 11:20 AM
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I'm with HTTY. You need to reconsider.

There are too many people who live in NYC and too many who are familiar with it (such as ex-pat NYers) to set a book somewhere that you don't understand fully, especially when dealing with a cultural menagerie like NYC. I've read two Jonathan Lethem books set less than a 1/2-mile from where I grew up and if I'd detected a false note I'd have tossed them in the dumper and torn him up in a 1-star Amazon review.

Plus, I haven't lived in the City in years but I could spot any hack setting from my house in Texas.

This is your warning. If you need to ASK "Where do kids from low income families go for good education" and can't even conceive of which borough; if you need to ask which train line they'd take; if you don't understand the notion of "the City" as opposed to the neighborhood your protagonist lives in - all these issues mean your book will be more notable for lack of authenticity than any other merits. The publishing world in the US is still centered in NYC, if you don't know the City you cannot just get by.
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Old Jun 11th, 2017, 08:03 PM
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Just take the time honored advice, "write what you know."
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Old Jun 11th, 2017, 10:00 PM
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Just take the time honored advice, "write what you know."
____________________________________
If this was true, we would never have science fiction and murder mysteries.

You must write about what you know by time you write it. But to the point about writing about NYC, there is other analogy.

You can mention the civil war. And you can mention guns. But you damn well better know what you are talking about if you write about Civil War guns. There will always be those who know more than you and if a reader does not believe what they know, they will not accept what they don't know or you create.
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Old Jun 11th, 2017, 10:34 PM
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"If this was true, we would never have science fiction and murder mysteries."

A science fiction writer needs to know enough about science to know what rules she can break to make a believable story. Same with a mystery writer, the crime has to be plausible and if they want to set it in a real city, the details make the story interesting.
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Old Jun 11th, 2017, 11:32 PM
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Well, to be fair, I haven't actually read many science fiction novels that deal with much science at all or read many mystery novels that have plausible crimes. And Hollywood certainly fails at both.

But Imdonehere's mention of Civil War guns is apt. A genre of mystery novels to use as an example would be legal/police procedurals. Those can be a major turn off for people with even a casual acquaintance with the system because it gets difficult to suspend disbelief if there are major errors.

Readers notice glaring mistakes, and it sounds like you want to add a degree of realism to the novel. I would not get through a book if it's obvious by the end of the first chapter that the writer knows absolutely nothing about the character's profession, hobbies, era, or locale. Two stars is being generous.
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Old Jun 12th, 2017, 03:28 AM
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Yes, Jules Verne knew what would happen at great ocean depths and what happens when you travel below the Earth's crust in the late 1880's.

There are some science fiction writers whose works are founded in science such as Stanislaw Lem and Isaac Asimov and Linda Fairstein used to work as an ADA in the Sex Crimes unit of the Manhattan DA's office, but otherwise I doubt Agatha Christie committed murders in the name of accuracy.

The axiom "Write what you know" is highly restrictive and does not take into account one's imagination or the ability to research.

The problem with this fellow is, his basic plot needs to be researched. Asking about the correct subway stops or schools is like asking for cereal aisle when you can't find the supermarket.
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Old Jun 12th, 2017, 09:30 AM
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I grew up in the Bronx many, many years ago, HS in Manhattan.

We would go to Orchard Beach and City Island in summer. Also many trips to the zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Everyone loves Central Park and the various museums.

But I agree with all the above, you don't know NY well
enough to set a novel there.


Karen
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Old Jun 12th, 2017, 11:12 PM
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Linda Fairstein had vast knowledge of NewYork having lived and worked there and it shows in her books . You just don't get from asking questions from a distance
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Old Jun 13th, 2017, 02:37 PM
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>

A bit too literal. Write what you know means write about that which you have knowledge, not write about what you've performed. Fairstein doesn't know how to commit horrific crimes because she did it (I met her once, she was really nice).

You need to ensure your own credibility. Science fiction requires a level of plausibility rooted in fact and speculation as to what can be achieved (Asimov and Jack Vance are still readable today even after innumerable advances; Andy Weir succeeded because The Martian is scientifically credible), setting a story in a real place means tying it to that real place.

Someone like the OP who doesn't know NYC (who's cluelessness is exceedingly high considering to his/her aspirations) will be exposed quickly. It's like looking at the Pacific Bell logo in a scene at "Dulles Airport" (Die Hard 2) or seeing the rubber-wheel trains come into a "Washington Metro" station (Day of the Jackal - remake; scene shot in Montreal) the incongruity will be obvious.
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Old Jun 13th, 2017, 10:45 PM
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The beauty of the Internet people read what they want to, rather than what is written.
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