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A Week in the Life of a Manhattanite

From the perspective of a quasi-New Yorker.

Click here for a guide on rooftops, date ideas, walkways, and more.

Hello everyone and welcome to the weekly blog! I’m Angelica, creator of Once Upon a Time in New York. I’m a second-year graduate student at Pace University studying publishing and I decided to create this page as part of an ongoing assignment for one of my editing classes. I’ll be writing about the various places I visit/discover plus social events I attend in the city! I find it so fascinating that the experience of every New Yorker can be vastly different, so I hope sharing my perspective will inspire you to visit a new place, or at least keep you entertained :)

Week 1: Sept 4-10, 2023

Tuesday: I had one week of summer break left before classes start. I decided to go to Heuk Hwa Dong, a dessert/boba shop in K-Town, to work on my website and continue my job search. I’d visited HHD for the first time a few weeks prior and loved how the space was set up with plenty of seating plus outlets under every table. I thought it would be a fun alternative to my usual café and I personally don’t know of any other boba place you can charge your phone in, so I thought bringing my laptop would be a good idea. Note to self: there isn’t any Wi-Fi and the service is so bad that my phone hotspot was pretty much useless. Other people had their laptops too but I have no idea how they got work done. I ended up using my phone (even though the internet was so slow) and reading for a bit before heading out. 10/10 menu and space to chill out, 0/10 place to actually work using the internet. 


Wednesday: Visited my aunt and uncle at their home in Briarwood (which is a very long train ride from upper Manhattan) where a lanternfly landed on me and it took everything in me to not panic. On the way home, I decided to randomly surprise my friend in Sunnyside who I knew was WFH in a café. After unsuccessfully convincing him to head into the city with me, I went to a wine tasting in Flatiron solo. I’d gotten free tickets through DoNYC More (normally $145) and didn’t want to waste them. I probably tried about six types of wine before calling it quits to try and avoid being drunk on a Wednesday evening for absolutely no reason.


Friday: While waiting for a friend to meet up with me, I decided to go to a nearby beer hall in Brooklyn and had a long conversation with the bartender. When my friend finally decided to show up after a whole hour (I love you Jack), we went next door to our event: a wedding reception party without a wedding. We dressed up (me in a white dress, Jack in a tux), took pictures, danced, talked to random people, ate free pizza, signed the wedding card, and pretended, with a bunch of strangers, that we were actually celebrating a wedding. It was a weird event that I absolutely loved being a part of. It was like being at an adult prom. Afterwards, we went to Public Records (my first time)!


Saturday: The usual birthday party/Mission/K-Town shenanigans. 


Week 2: Sept 11-17

Monday: After the thunderstorm, a double rainbow appeared over Manhattan the night of 9/11. (I didn’t get to see it for myself sadly, but the pictures online looked beautiful).


Tuesday: Decided to try out a new cafe and read outside. I chose Fellini, a cafe in the West Village that operates on a tiny triangular corner of a brick building with only a take-out window and a single-person interior. They have outdoor seating with red umbrellas and an awning, which were helpful for how hot the day was. I continued reading People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry and journaled a bit before walking to the Jefferson Market Library. This was my first time revisiting the library since before COVID although it reopened after renovations in July of last year. The interior was even more beautiful than I remembered, featuring tall, glass-stained windows, a large spiral staircase, and quiet picturesque spaces for working and studying. Then I went shopping in the area for a dress to wear for my upcoming photoshoot.


Wednesday: Continued to shop for my dress (found it!) and then paid a spontaneous visit to the Swiss Institute, which I discovered is actually a great date spot. It has two floors of art, a room with a landscape film projected onto several walls, a small library with windows that look into the film room, and a rooftop with a fountain and views of St. Marks. Next, I went to Village Works, a bookstore down the street that displays books about New York City’s history and culture, plus books by local authors. Then I went to my favorite Starbucks at Astor Pl and stayed there for a couple hours to do some work.


Thursday: Went to The Rose for their one-year anniversary party and then went to Den Social afterwards.


Saturday: Met up with my photographer at a rooftop in lower Manhattan for a two-hour shoot. We got a variety of shots where the lighting changed from full sunlight to golden hour to nighttime, and I’m excited to see how they all turned out! Afterwards, we met up with friends and got dinner in Little Italy.


Sunday: Saw Jay Park perform at Mission! (Not that I’d even heard of him until a week before the show, but it was still fun).

Week 3: Sept 18-24


Tuesday: Revisited the Pace Campus since last semester and explored the new library (great views)! Then I had a meeting with my one of my publishing advisors about my resume and strategies for job hunting. I went home afterwards only to be locked out of my apartment for seven hours (I’d lost my keys) and not a single one of my four roommates was home to open the door until midnight. Definitely not a night I’d want to repeat.


Wednesday: Watched Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway with my aunt. I hadn’t seen a Broadway show in years so it was great being back in the theater. Highly recommend the show if you’re a fan of the books/movies, although at one point I was so scared that I actually ducked in my seat. (It’s not a scary show, I just get spooked a little too easily). Afterwards, I walked to Bryant Park and read a couple chapters of Inside the Apple, an NYC history book I’ve been very slowly working through the past few months. 


Friday: Went to my building management’s Midtown office for the second time to pick up my new keys only to find out they didn’t actually have the right copy. I took a breather, read Lolita (one of my favorite books) in the Astor Pl plaza, and got a Dunkin drink (didn’t like it but at least it was free). Then I managed to solve the key problem myself by going to a hardware store (never losing my keys again).


Sunday: Decided to make a late appearance at my friend’s party, which was originally a Governor’s Island picnic but was moved indoors because of the rain. It ended up being one of my favorite nights of the month and the start to an amazing week.

Week 4: Sept 25-Oct 1


Monday: Went to Roberta’s in Bushwick for lunch with a friend. Highly recommend ordering The Famous Original—you won’t regret it.


Tuesday: Did karaoke night at Duet 35 with the smallest group I’ve ever karaoked with (only two other people) and it was a refreshing experience to actually duet with people who can and love to sing! 


Wednesday: Stopped by Domino Park and saw their new renovation of the old Domino Sugar building converted into a high-end office space. I brought McDonald’s with me and caught up with a friend on the phone for about an hour before walking to Bedford Ave and heading home.


Thursday: Sketched the brownstone from one of my favorite movies, The Last Five Years, which can be found under the Movie & TV Inspired Date Ideas page.


Friday: Celebrated two of my friends’ birthdays (which involved downing Beatbox, multiple sparklers, standing under an umbrella inside MK, a fun taxi ride, and roasting my friend’s Hinge profile—out of love). 


Saturday: Took part in Morningside Lights (absolutely magical) where we walked from Morningside Park to Columbia University carrying lanterns shaped like open books. Then I went on a fifty-block walk with a friend, bought mooncakes last minute at H-Mart to keep up our tradition for the Mid-Autumn Festival, and grabbed a late night dinner. Afterwards, I went to one last birthday celebration of the week at Marquee.

Week 4: Oct 2-8

Thursday: Took a two hour walk to a few parks near my neighborhood. I first went to Morningside Heights, then Riverside Park, stopped by the General Grant National Memorial, Sakura Park (which has a gazebo and over 2,000 cherry blossom trees), and lastly Marcus Garvey Park (which has the historic fire watchtower). I’d been meaning to revisit these parks and explore new parts of the neighborhoods. Something beautiful I discovered were mosaic benches outside of Grant’s Tomb, which were first installed as a project by CITYarts and recently underwent restoration by NYU student volunteers. The benches reminded me of the same type of mosaic art found at Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain.


Friday: Went to karaoke with a group at Karaoke City. It was my first time at this karaoke lounge and I would definitely recommend it for large groups. The room we booked was so spacious that we took up only half of it even though we had around fifteen people. There’s also a sports bar on the floor where they play karaoke songs on the TV in case you wanted to keep the party going.


Saturday: Went to a welcome bash in LIC and caught up with friends. I unsuccessfully tried to make it to a friend’s birthday party afterwards in the city but plans changed (as usual). 


Sunday: Watched the documentary The World Before Your Feet (which can be found under the Movie and TV Inspired Date Ideas page) and took notes on new places to visit in the city such as the Alley Pond Giant and Serpentine Commons. The documentary is about Matt Green’s mission to walk every block in New York City. His walk has attracted the attention of the local community and news channels through his blog, I’m Just Walkin’. Green started walking in January 2012 and continues to update his blog today. He’s walked 9,326 miles as of this year, which surpasses his goal of walking the city’s estimated 8,000 miles.

Week 5: Oct 9 to 15


Thursday: Decided to make this the day to cross something huge off my bucket list which was to explore the abandoned railroad tracks in Forest Park (click here for more info)! It was an exhilarating experience considering I’m pretty sure what we were doing wasn’t exactly legal but we were definitely not the first ones to have this idea. I was inspired to explore this area after hearing about QueensWay since last year through OHNY (Open House New York) and watching a couple of interesting YouTube videos. Next, we picked a random park to explore in College Point and it was just as equally thrilling. We ended up at the beautiful Hermon A. MacNeil Park, which is tucked away in a very quaint waterfront neighborhood where you can see airplanes landing into LGA. Then we went to the unnamed park next door and reached it by step street (found at 125th St and Powell Cove Blvd). Where the step street descends is next to an abandoned house with a broken chain-link fence and a dead-end where locals set up lawn chairs and take over the street. The energy here was remarkably different than any other place I’ve visited in the city. I’d highly recommend going here if you’re really looking to explore somewhere that very few people know about and you’re not afraid to go into new territory. Afterwards, we drove into Flushing and got K-BBQ.


Friday: Spent a ridiculous amount of time downloading and editing pictures from a photoshoot I did a few weeks prior. All of the pictures came out looking even better than I expected. Big thanks to my photographer and also my good friend whose rooftop with a skyline view made the perfect backdrop. Later, I met up with friends for drinks and hung out on the town until it was so late that the staff at the McDonald’s in East Village told us they were closing down for the night. 


Saturday: Saw an amazing set by ARMNHMR at Mission, ran into some friends, and ended the night with K-BBQ (and now I can say I had that twice in one week). 

Week 6: Oct 16 to 22


Thursday: Woke up this morning and decided I needed to spontaneously go out into the world and do something, so I visited the Skyscraper Museum, which was a recent addition to my list. It’s free to enter and is a quiet space to read about the history of skyscrapers not only in New York City but around the world. There are some interesting sketches and images of the different types of skyscrapers throughout the decades. There were only around five people at a time in the museum, which is only one floor, so it was more similar to a small gallery experience than a typical museum. After, I took about a two-hour walk starting at Battery Park (wanted to revisit the now closed Pier A Harbor House) and challenged myself to get as lost as possible while walking uptown. It was kind of difficult to do considering I’ve walked most of Lower and Midtown Manhattan, but I approached this by walking down unfamiliar blocks and intentionally taking the time to note graffiti and buildings I’ve never noticed before. I ended the journey by stopping at Alabaster Bookshop (the first bookshop I ever visited visited in the city about seven years ago) and the Strand (where I decided to purchase The Catcher and The Rye). 


Friday: Had dinner with a friend at Wau, a Malaysian restaurant on the Upper West Side, and tried a cocktail flight afterwards (so good). Then I met up with another friend for drinks at one of my favorite bars, Gran Torino, and spent the rest of the night in Brooklyn.


Saturday: The day I’d been waiting for—the first day of OHNY. I first got fish and chips at a local spot called Geno’s with a friend (definitely recommend) and then went to 25 Kent Ave, a luxury commercial building that has its own KITH and immersive sauna. We went up to three floors: the coworking space (massive), the event venue (amazing views), and the rooftop (even better views) where we watched the sunset. We finished off the night at Central Park to watch the drone show where over a thousand drones flew above the park.

Sunday: Did day 2 of OHNY solo! My first stop was Bronxlandia, a multi-purpose event space in a building that once was a train station used by commuters in the 1930s. Second stop was at the DREAM Charter School, an abandoned icehouse converted into the most beautiful school I’ve ever seen. I was the only OHNY participant in the tour; it was all parents and kids touring the classrooms. Then I happened to walk by The Lit Bar on the way to the train, so I got to cross that one off my bookstore list. Then I took the train downtown to The New York Studio School and the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation, both places I’ve walked by a hundred times and now finally had the chance to tour. Later in the night, I met up with friends at a beer hall and also met some new people.

Week 7: Oct 23 to 29

Wednesday: Caught up with a friend over supposedly his favorite slice of pizza at NY Pizza Suprema. It was a decent slice but would I call it the best I’ve ever had in New York? Definitely not. I suggested my personal favorite spot, Artichoke Basille, but I’m not sure if he’d like it as much as I do. I have to say, I’m not the best person to go to for food recs. Afterwards, we went for casual drinks at Kobrick Coffee, a coffee shop that doubles as a cocktail bar at night. Then I went to a wine and cheese night with a few friends and took pictures with the host’s trademark sparklers.


Thursday: Met up with friends at a housewarming in West Village and then walked down to Sour Mouse for an early Halloween celebration! A couple of our friends DJ’d there. Sour Mouse is nowhere near my favorite bar in the city but I always seem to find myself there.


Friday: Did a job interview and surprisingly got hired on the spot. I went to the corporate office to finish paperwork and then completed a drug test at a clinic around the corner. Afterwards, I went shopping for new work clothes. Later that night, I met up for sushi and watermelon soju at K-Town Pocha with some friends and stopped by a Halloween party in Flatiron before going to see my favorite DJ of all time, San Holo, perform at Brooklyn Steel. 

Saturday: Officially celebrated Halloween in costume on my friend’s rooftop at his new apartment in Williamsburg. I met up with most of my friends there and then went party hopping to a rooftop in Lower East Side, a penthouse in Hell’s Kitchen, and another rooftop in Times Square. After all the walking, my feet were not exactly thanking me for my choice to wear block heels. I also didn’t eat a single piece of candy but I guess that’s probably a good thing more than a bad thing. On the bright side, I went to three rooftops, which instantly makes it a good night.

Week 8: October 30 to November 5


Monday: Started my first day of work. I did an easy seven hour shift and it went well! It was great getting to meet everyone for the first time and start learning to use the online management system.

Afterwards, I ordered green tea at the Pershing Square Cafe around the corner, which I hadn’t visited since my birthday the year before. Then I attended a weekday mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 


Tuesday: Completed my second day at work and then went home and continued planning for my birthday party coming up on the 17th. 


Wednesday: Did my first overnight shift. It was mostly uneventful, just walked through the night auditing checklist with the manager to get ready for handoff in the morning. It was definitely weird going home at 7 am while seeing other people on the way to work. It did make me consider doing nighttime shifts permanently since the workload is significantly easier, but I don’t think I’d enjoy the long-term effects of a reverse sleep schedule and missing out on daylight.


Friday: Decided last-minute to attend an Among Friends party in Gowanus, which is definitely further away than I’d normally go out for. It was worth it though; I made new friends and ran into some unexpectedly people there. The party was held inside someone’s brownstone, which is a different setting than most apartment parties I go to in the city. It felt so much more homey and had a backyard space with a patio. Afterwards, I decided to go home early and spend the rest of the night in.


Saturday: Went to karaoke at Gagopa for my friend’s birthday. I’d always wanted to go to Gagopa ever since I saw it in a scene of the movie The Sun is Also a Star. It was exactly as I expected with neon lights everywhere and colorful disco balls. I didn’t stay out too late though because I unfortunately had work the next day on Sunday morning. 


Sunday: Successfully made it to work and went to mass at St. Patrick’s afterwards. Then I decided to spontaneously take the Roosevelt Island Tram in time for golden hour and watch the sunset from the top of the hills. It was a surreal moment to be the only person standing there and looking at the skyline as the sky turned dark. I took a moment to appreciate my life and how grateful I am to be alive in a place as beautiful as New York City. 


And that officially concludes this Week in the Life blog. Hope you gained some insight into how a Manhattanite spends a typical week in the city!

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