The neighborhood North of Little Italy, known as Nolita, is one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods. Formerly considered part of Little Italy, the area has had its own identity since the early 1990s when the Italian tradition slowly drained from the neighborhood and was replaced by a younger, hipper feel. This new vibe, paired with booming retail storefronts and a fast-growing restaurant scene all blend to make Nolita the sought-after neighborhood that it is today.
Nolita’s northern-most border is Houston Street while the eastern border is Bowery. The western edge is Layfette Street, and through the southern boundary varies by opinion, it is often referred to as Broome Street.
Image by Marc Lee / Flickr
Nestled between SoHo, NoHo, the Lower East Side, and Little Italy, Nolita has, in recent years, become one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods for shopping, nightlife, restaurants, and housing.
The neighborhood was formerly considered part of Little Italy, but the area lost the tradition and community of the famed Italian neighborhood over time. Over the past few decades, new storefronts for restaurants, designers, and hip shops began to open thanks to affordable commercial rent compared to the surrounding areas. It was around this same time that the neighborhood got its new name, an acronym for North of Little Italy, created by the New York Times.
Image by Eden, Janine, and Jim / Flickr
While the neighborhood now has a very similar feel to nearby SoHo, it is considered less crowded and quieter, though still has the same retail and restaurant draws. Small commercial storefronts and many residential buildings have contributed to the growth of the neighborhood as young families, and young professionals now flock to the area for the sought-after apartments and luxury condos.
Things to do
The nightlife and restaurants are one of Nolita’s biggest attractions. Renowned cafes and restaurants like Jack’s Wife Freda, Cafe Gitane, Bread, Cafe Habana, The Musket Room, and Saint Ambrose call the neighborhood home, while bustling bars like Mother’s Ruin and Sweet & Vicious draw New York locals and visitors alike.
Image by Bex Walton / Flickr
Nolita is also home to many shops and galleries that draw people to the area. Small boutiques like Condor, Creatures of Comfort and Love Adorned pepper the neighborhood, making it the perfect location to pick up a thoughtful gift or to treat yourself. Galleries abound in the neighborhood as well, like Open House on Mulberry Street that is home to rotating installations and pop-ups and the Storefront for Art and Architecture on Kenmare Street that houses events, exhibitions, and art installations.
Another reason Nolita is such a desirable neighborhood is the easy access to all parts of the city through public transportation.
Image by Steve Isaacs / Flickr
The six train runs along Lafayette Street, the neighborhood’s western edge, with stops at both Bleeker and Spring Streets. The B/D/F/M trains are available at Lafayette and Houston, while the J/Z train stops just to the south at the Bowery station. A short walk away is access to the N/Q/R/W trains that service upper Manhattan and Queens.
With the plethora of subway stations in the surrounding areas, it is an easy journey from Nolita to almost anywhere in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.
What it costs
Nolita is a fast-growing neighborhood for the city’s young professionals and, more recently, families. While it is known for its traditional tenement buildings, there are now many new luxury condo developments in the area.
Because the neighborhood is tiny and the demand for housing is high, prices have skyrocketed in recent years. The median sale price for homes in the neighborhood on average over the past several years falls around $3 million, while the average sales price per square foot is about $2,000. The median rental cost in Nolita is about $6,500 per month.