Nolita derives its name as the abbreviation of ‘North of Little Italy’. This name follows the portmanteau pattern started by SoHo (South of Houston Street), and TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal Street).
The neighborhood was long regarded as part of Little Italy, but has lost much of its recognizable Italian character in recent decades because of the migration of Italian-Americans out of Manhattan
Today, the Feast of San Gennaro, dedicated to Saint Januarius (“pope of Naples”), is still held in the neighborhood every year following Labor Day, on Mulberry Street between Houston and Grand Streets. The feast, as recreated on Elizabeth Street between Prince and Houston, was featured in the film The Godfather Part III.
The Basilica at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. Opened in 1815 and rebuilt in 1868 after a fire. The cornerstone was laid on June 8, 1809. This building served as New York City’s Roman Catholic cathedral until the new St. Patrick’s Cathedral was opened on Fifth Avenue in Midtown in 1879.
The Puck Building. An ornate structure built in 1885 on the corner of Houston and Lafayette Streets, which originally housed the headquarters of the now-defunct Puck Magazine (Puck was America’s first successful humor magazine of colorful cartoons, caricatures and political satire of the issues of the day. Puck was the first magazine to carry illustrated advertising and the first to successfully adopt full-color lithography printing for a weekly publication).
Elizabeth Street Gallery/Garden. Located in a renovated 1850s firehouse with an adjacent sculpture garden of nearly one acre. The Gallery houses a collection of extraordinary pieces including second-century Greek and Roman carved-stone vessels.
Lombardi’s. Gennaro Lombardi started the business in 1897 as a grocery store and began selling tomato pies wrapped in paper and tied with a string at lunchtime to workers area’s factories. In 1905 Lombardi received a business license to operate a pizzeria restaurant, and so it became the first pizzeria in the United States.
Urban Compass Nolita Pics: