Little Italy New York: history of this neighborhood
While Little Italy was once bounded north of Canal Street by Mulberry, Mott, and Elizabeth Streets, in the XNUMXth century the Italian community began to disperse and join other New York neighborhoods. As a result of this phenomenon, Little Italy began to shrink and parts to the south were "absorbed" by their neighbor Chinatown, which gained more and more ground (Asians immigrated more and more). The north of Little Italy (near Houston Street) was not spared either and this area gradually lost its characteristics. Now she is known as NoLita, an abbreviation of North Little Italy. But despite this, there is always a certain Italian atmosphere when strolling through the streets of Little Italy.
At present, the Mulberry Street zones and Grand Street are the most characteristic of Little Italy; many typically Italian restaurants are established there attracting as many tourists as possible! Italian shops have also opened to the delight of fashion-addicts!
What to do in Little Italy: the must-sees of this neighborhood
If you go for a walk in Little Italy in New York, you will discover typical restaurants where to eat an Italian specialty, shops to stroll, but you will also enjoy discovering places like the Old St. Patrick's Cathedral or the Puck Building. Also, I advise you to open your eyes and contemplate the typical six-story houses of the neighborhood (admittedly, they are lower than the buildings of New York, but they are worth a look).
Here's what the Little Italy neighborhood has in store for you!
Read also: all the districts of New York to discover.
La Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral
This former St. Patrick's Cathedral, more commonly known as the Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral is located at 260-264 Mulberry Street. It was built in six years and its first stone was laid in 1809. After a fire in 1866, the cathedral was restored and it reopened in 1868 and since 1879, it has become a simple multi-ethnic parish church where many Asians like to go (because of its proximity to Chinatown).
Even if the Old St. Patrick's Cathedral is not an iconic monument of the Big Apple, if you pass by, do not hesitate to contemplate it for a few minutes 🙂
Le Puck Building
Le Puck building is actually a block bounded by Houston Street, Lafayette Street, Jersey Street and Mulberry Street. This neo-Romanesque building was built in 1885 and was extended a few years later, in 1893. On its facade, you can see golden figurines representing Shakespeare's character, Puck.
Initially, the Puck Building was the headquarters that housed the editorial staff of Puck magazine, but today it houses rooms dedicated to major events as well as offices.
If you know the American series Will and Grace, this building might tell you something, because it is the place where Grace Adler's office is located.
During your visit to Little Italy, you will be able to window shop in the established boutiques, but also in an original souvenir shop: Cocoblues (178 Hester Street, New York, NY 10013). Why original? Because here, you can find objects (magnets, paintings, watches, decorative objects…) on which an original drawing is represented.
On the price side, they are really affordable. Once inside, you will only have one desire: buy something for yourself or your loved ones!
When is the best time to visit Little Italy?
Whatever the period, visiting Little Italy is always very pleasant. On the other hand, if you are there for the party of San Gennaro (the protector and patron saint of Naples), you will not be disappointed! This festival takes place in September and for ten days, many festivities are organized in Little Italy: parade, games, competitions, procession of the statue of San Gennaro and many others! During this party, over a million people come to Little Italy to have fun and experience this party to the fullest!
Little Italy New York: where to eat?
In Little Italy, there is no shortage of restaurants! In addition to eating typical dishes, you will also discover a special and unique atmosphere like at Umberto’s Clam House at number 132 Mulberry Street. This "mafia" restaurant is the most famous in the area and it offers very good food and delicious pizzas. For the little anecdote: it was in this restaurant that Joe Gallo, godfather of the Italian mafia was killed in 1972.
Le Da Nico, also located on Mulberry Street (at number 164) is another interesting Italian restaurant. The setting is pleasant, the dishes very good and of good quality: pasta, pizzas… If you like Italian specialties, Da Nico will please you!
For a little coffee break, you can go to a pastry shop or a cafe. For this, I recommend the espresso-bar on Iron at number 195 Grand Street. It is the oldest in the United States and it offers many products: cheesecakes, cookies, Italian ice cream, hot dishes ... If you are hungry, go to Ferrarra! You will be spoiled for choice !
Finally, for a drink, go to Mulberry Street Bar at number 176 of this street. It is a must-see in the neighborhood and in this bar, several scenes from films and series (such as The Sopranos) have been shot.
Little Italy New York: where is it?
Little Italy is located in Manhattan between Chinatown and SoHo:
In Little Italy, you will therefore discover a special atmosphere and you will feel in Italy during your stroll. The restaurants will make you taste typical dishes and will guarantee you a real culinary journey! Very good discovery of this famous Little Italy!