Your Destination Guide to New York City

Destination Guide NYC - Your Destination Guide to New York, NY

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Nolita

Nolita
Nolita

© Ninja Kem Photography

The charming section of Manhattan known as "Nolita" (short for "North of Little Italy") is best known for its upscale boutiques, celebrity residents and trendy eateries full of fashionable patrons spilling into the streets. Until recently, Nolita was considered part of Little Italy, but that changed over time as Italian-Americans started to migrate out of Manhattan. A favorite landing place among young urban professionals, Nolita is surrounded by Houston Street at its north, the Bowery on the east, Broome Street at its south and Lafayette Street at the west.

An attraction of the neighborhood is St. Patrick's Old Cathedral at the corner of Prince and Mott Streets. This church opened in 1815 but was rebuilt after a fire destroyed it in 1868. Before 1879, this was the city's primary Roman Catholic cathedral when the new St. Patrick's on Fifth Avenue (at 50th Street) was constructed. This site is also widely known for scenes from The Godfather and The Godfather, Part III as well as a publicized memorial service held here in 1999 for John F. Kennedy Jr.

The Puck Building, at 295 Lafayette Street, is another famous structure in this section of the city. Named after America's first satirical magazine, the building is now home to New York University's Wagner School of Public Service, housing office space as well as ballrooms used for large-scale events. Founded in 1871 in St. Louis, Puck Magazine was held under various editors until 1916, when the William Randolph Hearst Company took over until its final circulation in 1918. Issues were 32 pages and included political cartoons and comic strips, a double-page centerfold featuring political satire and pages of editorials. Shakespeare's mischievous Puck character from A Midsummer Night's Dream was of course the inspiration for the magazine, and visitors to the building can see two figures of Puck at the entrance's façade.

Nolita really stands out on weekends, when shops and restaurants prop open their doors and artists crowd the streets. The Young Designer's Market (268 Mulberry Street between Prince and Houston), held every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 7pm, features a bevy of designers showcasing all types of jewelry, clothing and other knickknacks in the St. Patrick's Youth Center gymnasium. Free admission gets you access to the real side of New York's art scene – artist types trying to make it in the big city. Just around the corner, popular hangouts like Café Habana (corner of Prince and Elizabeth) and Café Gitane (Mott Street near Prince) are sure to deliver both excellent treats (try the Mexican grilled corn at Habana) and people-watching for the hungry and curious traveler.

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