NoLIta NYC Neighborhood Guide

Nolita (see map), often written as NoLIta, is a neighborhood in Manhattan. It stands for “North of Little Italy”. The name first appeared in 1996, and was created by real estate promoters following the pattern established by SoHo (South of Houston Street) and TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal Street).

The Nolita neighborhood is bounded on the north by Houston Street, on the east by the Bowery, on the south roughly by Broome Street, and on the west roughly by Lafayette Street. It lies east of SoHo, south of NoHo, west of the Lower East Side, and north of Little Italy and Chinatown. Nolita was originally part of Little Italy. however, as Italian-Americans move out of the neighborhood, Nolita has lost much of its Italian flavor. Today, you will only find the elderly, less-mobile Italian descendants still living in the Nolita area.

In place of the upwardly-mobile Italians, young urban professionals have come to make Nolita home. This fueled an explosion of expensive retail boutiques, trendy restaurants and bars to cater to them. The result is that they have made this part of Little Italy more upscale.

Within the Nolita neighborhood is the St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. It stands at the corner of Mott and Prince Streets. The cathedral was first opened in 1815 and was rebuilt in 1868 after a fire. It served as New York City’s Roman Catholic cathedral until the new St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue was completed in 1879. Since then, St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral is a parish church.

Also within the Nolita neighborhood is the Puck Building. This an ornate structure was built in 1885. It is located on the corner of Houston and Lafayette Streets, and housed the original headquarters of the now-defunct Puck Magazine.

Cafe Giante

Snag an outside table at Cafe Giante, a true Nolita staple. Scroll through Instagram and you can see some of the glamorous folks who have dined here. They have some great small plates and wine options to fuel the rest of your neighborhood excursion.

Cafe Giante, 242 Mott Street

Gimme! Coffee

Grab a cup of coffee at Gimme!, a well-known local espresso bar. Coffee. Try a Queen Bee, a sweet and spicy latte made with White Dog Apiary honey, cinnamon, and clove.

Elizabeth Street Garden

Elizabeth Street Garden, the location of the NYFW Lela Rose Bridal presentation, is a true gem. In busy New York City, you can steal a moment or two among sculptures and greenery with an endless supply of charm and repose. It is open to the public from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. during the week and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Elizabeth Street Garden, Entrance via Elizabeth Street

Egg Shop

Egg Shop, also on Elizabeth Street, serves delectable breakfast fare. Arrive early in the morning to secure a table because this restaurant is extremely small! The cruisers, a breakfast bowl menu option, are delicious, but nothing on the breakfast menu is bad. Biscuits made with buttermilk? Please accept my thanks.

Egg Shop, 151 Elizabeth Street

Erica Weiner Jewelry

A trip to Nolita isn’t complete unless you go shopping in some of the most beautiful boutiques. Erica Weiner Jewelry stands out in particular. There’s something sparkly for everyone after sourcing stunning vintage gems and designing a line of in-house collection pieces. Swoon all you want.

Erica Weiner Jewelry, 173 Elizabeth Street

Little Cupcake Bakeshop

You can’t say you’ve visited Nolita without stopping by the Little Cupcake Bakeshop. Instead of cupcakes, try a slice of their Brooklyn Blackout cake with a few forks to share. After a long day of exploring, the chocolate cake is decadent, moist, and everything you could want.

Little Cupcake Bakeshop, 30 Prince Street


True Nolitans swear by Peasant’s downstairs room. It is only open after 7 p.m. and does not accept reservations, but the atmosphere is well worth it. Photos don’t do the space justice in terms of how cozy, inviting, and exciting it is. Go check it out for yourself.

Police Building

The Police Building is a beautiful building at 240 Centre Street in NoLIta, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City. It got its name because it was the headquarters of the New York Police Department, from 1909 until 1973.

Hoppin & Koen designed the Police Building. It features a central dome, a main portico, and end pavilions with Corinthian columns. The structure was one of several public structures constructed in the vicinity of New York City Hall. The city was planning to develop the Civic Center neighborhood with magnificent government buildings at the time.

When the police left in 1973, the building fell into disrepair until 1988, when it was redeveloped into an upscale apartment complex. The Ehrenkrantz Group & Eckstut design team added 55 apartment units to the building. It is a fantastic example of symphathetic reuse of a historic building.

How to reach the Police Building

You can either take the J, M or Z subway trains to the Canal St Station, or the 6 subway train to the Spring Street station.

Rice to Riches

My pals think I’m insane. But my favorite place in Nolita is Rice to Riches, a quirky rice pudding shop on Spring Street. Lena Dunham ate here in a Girls episode, and it’s one of the strangest places you’ll ever visit. The small signs that adorn every inch of the walls are reason enough to visit. Consider the Oreo flavor. If I’m wrong about liking rice pudding, I don’t want to be right.

Rice to Riches, 37 Spring Street

Rintintin & Sel Rrose

The best late-night cocktail spots in Nolita are Rintintin and Sel Rrose. Both offer plenty of ambiance, delectable drinks, and vibes worthy of inclusion on our list. Drink a nightcap and toast to a fantastic day in New York City’s trendiest neighborhood.

  • Rintintin, 14 Spring Street
  • Sel Rrose, 1 Delancey Street

St Patrick’s Old Cathedral

The St Patrick’s Old Cathedral, at 260-264 Mulberry Street, between Prince and Houston Streets, in Little Italy and near Chinatown, in Lower Manhattan, New York City, was the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, until the opening of the current St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1879.

St Patrick's Old Cathedral
St Patrick’s Old Cathedral

The construction of the old St. Patrick’s Church began in 1809 and was completed in 1815. It was dedicated on May 14, 1815. The church measures 120 feet by 80 feet and has an 85-foot-high vault. The old St. Patrick’s Cathedral caught fire while the new St. Patrick’s was being built. In 1868, it was restored and reopened. On March 17, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI elevated St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral to the status of minor basilica. It is now referred to as the Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral.

The St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral served as the final stop for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade until 1830, when it was replaced by the Church of the Transfiguration. It was eventually relocated again, and the parade now ends in front of the current St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Getting Here:

  • From Wall Street: 2 miles / 10-25 minutes by car / 15-20 minutes by transit
  • From Rockefeller Center: 3 miles / 15-35 minutes by car / 15 minutes by transit
  • From Jersey City: 7 miles / 20-35 minutes by car / 30-35 minutes by transit

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.