We attach meaning to places through pop culture. We transform them from the living, breathing cities we are part of into their platonic ideals. New York is for big dreamers. Los Angeles is where stars are born. Seattle is a land of gloomy 20-somethings searching for connection (or coffee).
These are all variations on the actual places, which are more varied and fluid than their pop cultural counterparts. The fakes have taken hold, because they’re close enough to reality to satisfy. You really do go to Los Angeles if you want to become a star; you just maybe don’t think about all the people there who didn’t manage that trick.
We think we know these real places through their fictional alter egos. Even if we live in one of them, the idea of a place is sometimes so potent that we can forget the place itself, allowing ourselves to get lost in