Nolita is a beautiful neighborhood in Manhattan that is full of Italian charm. Short for “North of Little Italy”, the area is bordered by Houston Street on the north, Broome Street on the south, Bowery on the east, and Lafayette Street on the west. While it borrows its Italian character from its neighbor Little Italy, it is decidedly quieter, less touristy and more residential.
Nolita was long considered a part of Little Italy, but developed into its own distinct district in the mid 1990s. It boasts a terrific central location and charming streets, but avoids being too crowded or noisy due to the absence of through-traffic. The only busy major streets that cut through the neighborhood are on Houston Street and the Bowery.
Many Italian immigrants once populated the neighborhood, although many of them have since moved out of Manhattan to other boroughs. Nonetheless, the neighborhood still retains its Italian atmosphere and has a residential population that is a mix of older Italian families and young professionals. The district is still the home of the Feast of San Gennaro, an annual festival held every year just after Labor Day that celebrates Saint Januarius, the “Pope of Naples”.
Nolita Points of Interest
Nolita contains its fair share of historically and culturally significant sites, including:
- St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral – This cathedral, at the intersection of Mulberry, Mott and Prince Streets, was opened in 1815 and rebuilt in 1868 after a fire. The cornerstone of the building was laid in 1809 and for many years the building served as the city’s Roman Catholic cathedral until the new St. Patrick’s Cathedral was opened in midtown on Fifth Avenue. The cathedral is now a parish church and is known as The Basilica at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral.
- Puck Building – The Puck Building is a neighborhood landmark that was built in 1885. It is an ornate building that is on the corner of Houston and Lafayette Streets. It was once the home of the now-defunct Puck Magazine, from which it derives its name.
Nolita Real Estate
Most of Nolita consists of 5-6 story walk-up buildings that are both turn-of-the-century and new. The neighborhood contains no high-rises. Some of the residential buildings in the area include:
- 20-22 Prince Street – low-rise walk-up building
- 221 Mott Street – low-rise walk-up building
- 250 Mott Street – low-rise walk-up building
- 260-268 Elizabeth Street – five building complex
- 50 Prince Street – modern low-rise elevator building
- 211 Elizabeth Street – seven story brick building with seven foot high black wood windows
- 225 Lafayette – pre-war mid-rise concierge condo building originally constructed to house the East River Savings Bank
- One Kenmare Square – two adjacent buildings designed by H. Thomas O’Hara
- 145 Mulberry Street – low-rise elevator condo building
Nolita features some terrific restaurants that run the gamut from casual to fine dining and offer a wide range of cuisines. Some of the more notable eateries in the neighborhood include:
- L’asso – Italian cuisine and pizza
- Café Habana – Cuban and Mexican cuisine
- Delicatessen – New American cuisine