By Jan Ross
Step out of a hotel in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan in New York and you are immediately faced with a quandary – which way to turn? Nolita is short for North of Little Italy and the urban, friendly neighborhood full of trees, little parks, interesting shops and wonderful, tiny restaurants is close to both Little Italy and Chinatown. Both are wonderful areas for a stroll and both have completely fabulous food.
The neighborhood used to be considered part of Little Italy and many descendants of Italian immigrants still live in the neighborhood so this is the perfect place to try some Italian food. Walk to Café Roma one morning and purchase some cannoli, which they will put in a little white bakery box tied with string. Eat your cannoli on one of the many street benches as you people watch the incredible diversity of individuals who live in this neighborhood.
For a completely different experience, head just a couple blocks in another direction and you will be in Chinatown. Home to over 100,000 people, Chinatown in Manhattan is one of the oldest Chinese enclaves outside of Asia and is a fascinating area to visit. Fresh fish swim in large tanks on the sidewalk, just waiting for patrons to choose them for a truly fresh seafood dinner and bubble tea, a local delicacy, is advertised everywhere.
Little Italy and Chinatown are both shopping Meccas with hundreds of small, interesting, street front shops selling clothing, jewelry, antiques, furniture, souvenirs, and pretty much anything else for which you might be looking.
If you are in the neighborhood after Labor Day, you can enjoy the Feast of San Gennaro, dedicated to Saint Januarius, held on Mulberry Street between Houston and Grand Streets. A huge street party, there are parades, musical entertainment and plenty of great food.
Completed in 1815, the lovely St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral was the first Catholic Church in New York and is well worth a visit. The seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in New York until the new St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built; it is located on Mulberry Street and is now a parish church. The beautiful, gothic architecture and stained glass windows are truly remarkable. Worship services are still held but visitors are welcome when mass is not in session.
When you are ready to see the rest of the city, it’s very easy to catch a city bus, take the subway or grab a city cab. For the perfect evening out, I personally recommend going to The Ember Room on 9th street for dinner. Order the “Korean Barbecue Beef Fried Rice” which comes in a small, cast iron frying pan with a raw egg on top! Mix the egg in the hot rice and prepare to enjoy a sumptuous repast unlike any other. After dinner, walk to the August Wilson Theater on 52nd street (just a few blocks) and see “Jersey Boys” – I guarantee you will love it!
Hotels in Nolita, New York City
So you’ve decided to follow my advice, huh? Good move. Next up: finding a great hotel deal. Well, that’s what we’re here for. Click here to see our hotel deals for New York City, choose your dates and zoom in to the neighborhood you’re looking for. It couldn’t be easier!