I'm sure different writers have different sources for inspiration. Some people are more plot-oriented ("Hey, what would happen if a sailor discovered the ship he was on was full of ghosts?") and some, like me, much more character-driven.
New York may be a lot of things, but there is NO shortage of people around who are just a little "off." Or a lot "off." And I am drawn to people like that. Many of them are characters in my stories. Like there is this old woman who sits in a lawn chair on the toniest part of Madison Avenue, watching the people go by. She sits right on the sidewalk, pretty much in everyone's way, directly in front of the Carolina Herrera store. And she's all dolled up--dress, jewelry, makeup. She's there every day. I say "hi" to her, and I wonder What's her story?
She's next on the list.
Or there's the homeless dude who plays the harmonica around the corner from my building. He plays loudly. Badly. Apparently, that's his angle. But, he's a super nice guy. And he's made it into my novel. I'm considering giving him a copy once it's published (confidence! make it so!), but I'm afraid I'll hurt his feelings about the bad harmonica playing. Is it possible he thinks he's good?
Or, really, I can just take my notebook and sit outside if I am lacking ideas.
What inspires you?