One of the latest neighborhoods to undergo transformations within the retail, fashion boom (and condo homes) is Nolita, short for North of Little Italy. In the mid 90s, fashion designers headed to this area and boutiques sprang all over the place. Most of the boutiques are cute and small but high turnover is common in this area. One minute a new boutique pops up, then 6 months later it closes and a new one moves in.
High commercial rents make it almost impossible for small businesses to strive and profit. Let’s not even speak of rental apts, they are sky rocketing, though in the current “recession”, a drop down in rents has been taking place throughout the city. New condos are under construction as well. The building on the corner of Spring & Mott has a penthouse for $19million (thats right NINETEEN MILLION, pictured here before renovation). It’s a beautiful 19th century building under recent renovation to make way for the people with deep pockets.
If you love pizza as I do, then you must stop by Rays Pizzeria, located on Prince street between Elizabeth and Mott. It’s the O.G. (original) Rays pizzeria, and they’ve been there since the 1959.
Other great restaurants include my favorites Cafe Habana, for Cuban food, Mediterranean cuisine from Cafe Gitane and Mexican from La Esquina.
A popular attraction is Old St. Patrick’s Church. Construction for the church began in 1809 and the current church stands since 1879! The wall surrounding the church is a sight; brick wall that actually leans it’s so old and the gate doors located on Mulberry street are the originals and worthy of pictures. On Saturdays and Sundays and on warm days, you will catch vendors along this wall selling fine pieces of jewelry, art, clothing and more.
Just 1 block east of Elizabeth & Prince street is the Bowery. The newly constructed NEW MUSEUM (http://www.newmuseum.org/) opened this past December 2007. Odd boxed shaped building with unique art and worthy of a quick visit.
Nearby on Mulberry Street was the Ravenite Social Club. The hang out spot for John Gotti and friends. It’s now a shoe store but I believe it still has the original floors. We won’t dabble into Italian heritage though 😉
So if you’re visiting Soho, just walk east on Prince street and enjoy the boutiques, restaurants and more on the streets known as Mulberry, Mott, and Elizabeth. Take the downtown bus tour
stop # 11, and have fun!