Before setting a story in a new spot, before plopping a plot into an unfamiliar place, a writer’s got to research, right?
I obsess over this. I study, take absurdly detailed notes, catalogue histories, memorize street grids, and a whole bunch of other etcetera’s despite knowing none of that will make it into the final manuscript.
Question: why do I do this?
Answer: Authors must feel comfortable in a place before their readers ever will.
Whether this is just spirited justification on my part or something actually useful, I’ll leave to you. I have subway schedules to memorize.