South of NoHo, west of the Lower East Side and -- as the newspeak name abbreviates -- North of Little Italy, Nolita is both one of Manhattan’s older and newer neighborhoods. Once Martin Scorsese’s old stomping grounds, the former setting for “Mean Streets” is now considerably kinder -- much less Italian-American than it used to be, seemingly hipper by the moment, and decidedly upwardly mobile. Nolita began attracting an influx of young professionals, artists and families during the 1990s, and has now blossomed into a diverse and upscale little neighborhood -- the sort of Manhattan ‘hood in which chic boutiques share blocks with revered Italian bakeries and cheese shops, and whose sleek restaurants, cafes and nightspots have made it a Manhattan nightlife staple.
Historically, Nolita was home to manufacturing buildings, horse stables and carriage houses. But when Nolita began attracting younger people priced out of Soho and Tribeca, Nolita’s old buildings were converted into spacious studios and condominiums. New construction condominiums are rare in Nolita, where the emphasis is more on the sort of upscale restorations that create “new” pre-war condominiums in old spaces. The neighborhood’s architectural landmarks are the St. Patrick’s Cathedral -- which has stood at the corner of Mott and Prince Streets since 1815 -- and the Puck Building, and the striking New Museum of Contemporary Art, on The Bowery, has become a neighborhood landmark in its own right. New in name only, Nolita remains a neighborhood on the rise.