A Neighborhood Guide to New York’s Nolita
Nolita (which stands for North of Little Italy) has enough charm, allure, and gustatory delights to keep you enthralled for an entire afternoon. This uber-trendy Manhattan neighborhood was once part of Little Italy, but underwent a transition in the late ‘90s when Italian immigrants started leaving and the yuppies blew in with pricey boutiques and restaurants. East of Soho, west of the Lower East Side, and bordered by Houston and the Bowery, it’s a great place to wander, snack, and take in the scene.
Public (210 Elizabeth St; 212-343-7011; public-nyc.com) Time Out New York awarded Public “Best Brunch in NYC” and “an enticing reason to get out of bed.” The spare, edgy, downtown feel may look cool, but the service is warm, and the food hot enough to earn a Michelin Star every year since 2009. (The quinoa hash browns win our vote, hands down). Don’t miss the mimosa bar with its fresh fruit juices and herbs to customize your brunch cocktail. Want to be a regular? Join their wine mailbox program with a new artisanal wine delivered to your own bronze mailbox each month.
Dinosaur (211 Elizabeth St; 212-680-3523; dinosaurdesigns.com) Your eyes will pop at the stunning glass and resin designs created by Stephen Ormandy and Louise Olsen of Sydney, where all of their pieces are made. This jewel of a shop is one of eight stores, and the only one in New York, and features everything from bold, candy-colored bangles, rings, and other statement pieces to brilliant dishware and vases. Worth a browse.
Wine Therapy (171 Elizabeth St; 212-625-2999; winetherapynyc.com) Jean Baptiste thought of the name for his wine shop when he was in a cab on his way home from—you guessed it—therapy. In the same spot where he used to sell mid-century furniture, you can now browse a wide selection of organic, biodynamic, and natural wines, as well as a small selection of artisanal liquors. Baptiste works with smaller scale producers and prides himself on wines from places that you might not think of when it comes to wine, like Lebanon and the Canary Islands.
Space Cowboy (234 Mulberry St.; 646-559-4779; spacecowboyboots.com) There’s a boot for every boy and girl—from basic saddle to sparkles and glitz. But their specialty is custom, hand-made boots and belts. Paul Greyshock (think Woody Harrelson in a cowboy hat) and his partner build your boot from the ground up, using a select group of trusted vendors. The most basic off-the-shelf shoe sells for around $400, and custom boots run an average of $1,400. If you want top-of-the-line alligator, you could spend up to $3,000. This ain’t Zappos, though, so expect your new boots to take up to eight months to be ready.
Bowery Coffee (89 East Houston Street (Corner of Bowery); 212-966-5162; bowerycoffee.com) This is no-nonsense coffee at its best, delivered with a sense of style—and, if you’re lucky, by the dapper gent in a white fedora who works the Saturday shift. Bold, flavorful brewed java, served just about any way you like it. (Try the iced latte with almond milk!)
Finds Sample Sale (89A E. Houston St.; 917-226-9765; findssamplesale.com) If there’s one thing New Yorkers love, it’s a sample sale, where you can score serious deals on top-notch merch. If something catches your eye, grab it—stuff goes quickly. But never fear; they get new items in twice a week, so there’s always something new to see in their eclectic and evolving collection.
McNally Jackson (52 Prince St.; 212-274-1160; mcnallyjackson.com) This iconic shop is everything you love about an independent bookstore-slash-cafe—warm, welcoming atmosphere; knowledgeable, friendly staff; great coffee. Plus: live events, an eclectic magazine collection, literature arranged by nation, and an on-site printing press. Their print-on-demand and self-publishing services let you create or print your own books, or any of the more than four million titles in the public domain.
Crosby Hotel Bar (79 Crosby St, Manhattan; 212-226-6400; firmdalehotels.com) Cap off your afternoon (or start your evening early!) with a craft cocktail at the Crosby’s swank-but-not-snooty hotel bar. Choose from the Firmdale favorites, such as the ever-popular Soho Sensation, a cool, fruity blend of raspberries, passion fruit, and vodka served tall over crushed ice, or White Linen, featuring Hendricks, cucumber, egg white, lemon, sugar, and cracked pepper. Premium cocktails are nearly twice the price, but go down easy. And while the patio is prime real estate, it’s for hotel guests only.
Spa Sante (247 Elizabeth St; 212-966-5961; spasante.org) This may be the best-kept body-care secret in lower Manhattan. From nail care and waxing to deep tissue massage, wraps, and reflexology offered at shockingly reasonable prices, Spa Sante could easily become habit-forming. Evie, the proprietor, is as sweet as she is skilled, and no matter your stress level, you’ll always find reasons to come back.