HistoryItalian Americans traditionally dominated the area that's now known as NoLIta. For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, this small neighborhood was part of Little Italy. As residents of Italian heritage began to leave Lower Manhattan, the borders of local ethnic enclaves were redrawn. For example, Chinatown has drastically encroached into blocks that were once occupied by Jewish and Italian families in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Since the 1990s, NoLIta was revitalized and rebranded as a new district with a contemporary vibe.
Attractions and LandmarksHaving a wedged shape, Pertosino Square is one of a few green spaces in NoLIta. This small public space honors the legacy of an Italian immigrant who joined the New York City Police Department in the 19th century. As a young man, Joseph Pertosino took on an undercover role for the local police division. He was tragically killed in Italy while carrying out a secret mission. Today, Pertosino Square has some bronze markers that are attributed to him and the NYPD in general. Although it's not officially located within the boundaries of NoLIta, the New York Police Headquarters is a notable landmark that's closely associated with the neighborhood. Now known as 240 Centre Street, this edifice was built in 1909 in the Beaux Arts architectural. The facade also includes elements of Edwardian Baroque and Renaissance Revival design. New York City gave this stunning building landmark status in 1978. Massive Corinthian columns dominate the beautiful exterior of this historic property. Having religious, cultural and architectural significance, St. Patrick's Old Cathedral is another prominent attraction in NoLIta. Architect Joseph-Francois Mangin was hired to design this cathedral in 1809 in the Gothic Revival style. In its early years, the building catered to Irish and Italian immigrants, who made up the majority of Catholic worshipers in New York City at the time. However, French clergy members were also heavily involved in the leadership roles of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral. The nave of this cathedral has been fully restored to reflect a traditional Italian design. Tall vaults and arcades rise above stained-glass windows and other intricate decorations in the nave. As you enjoy a walking tour of NoLIta, you'll be probably notice the Puck Building and Odd Fellows Hall. Additionally, the district has some remains of tenements and similar buildings that once hosted multiple generations of Italian immigrants.
Location and TransportationThe 4 and 6 lines of the New York City Subway stop at the Spring Street station in NoLIta. Both of these busy routes run through Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. The other public transportation option in the neighborhood is provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which is in charge of bus service. Designed to facilitate public transit in NYC, the Citi Bike system is also available in NoLIta. You'll find it easy and affordable to rent a bicycle and navigate the historic district. Most of the streets in the district follow one-way traffic patterns. Running along the northern perimeter of NoLIta, Houston Street carries vehicles heading eastward and westward. This busy street is connected to FDR Drive, which links all major parts of Manhattan. If you'd truly like to absorb the authentic character and ambiance of NoLIta, then take advantage of the pedestrian-friendly streets.
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