Recently hitting the news again due to a wealthy billionaire’s purchase, NoLIta is a neighborhood rich with culture and history that has become a place popular to look for a luxury apartment in Manhattan.
Is NoLIta a real neighborhood?
Long story short, yes, NoLIta is a very real neighborhood that has been around for decades. Once a neighborhood for prominent New York City farming families in the 18th century, NoLIta continues to churn out spaces for the wealthy and privileged. Located in the heart of Lower Manhattan, this neighborhood is so densely populated that it is almost three times more densely populated than the city as a whole.
But what does NoLIta actually stand for?
Historically a part of Little Italy, the 1990s saw a flood of a younger well-off generation entering the neighborhood which made real estate leaders hope to pitch it as being part of SoHo. Unfortunately, they were snubbed and forced to create a name of its own like TriBeCa, SoHo and DUMBO and like those three areas, the name directly derives from its location in Manhattan.
NoLIta stands for North of Little Italy yet some people will reference NoLIta as being part of SoHo, but its unique charm sets it apart from its neighbor and gives it almost as much name recognition. In fact, a hotly debated topic on the internet is whether it is spelled “NoLita” or “NoLIta” and even Wikipedia can’t decide.
How Did NoLIta Gain Its Status?
Contributing to the increasing name recognition are Josh Kushner and Karlie Kloss, residents of NoLita’s historic Puck Building since 2019, who recently upgraded to a larger and more posh penthouse in the building. This new residence at PHI was purchased for a cool $42.5 million and has 5 Bedrooms, 7.5 Baths, Library, Gym, Home Theater, Wine Cellar and stunning landscaped private terraces with a Yoga Lawn, Putting Green, Spa Tub and Wet Bar. Plenty of space to not get bored in should the DELTA variant start to rage higher. The Kushner/Kloss’s new acquisition now leaves their old home at PHV for sale at a bargain of $23.5 million. Sure, it may only have 4 bedrooms and about 2,000 less in square footage than PHI, but you’ll still be living in this historic 1885 residence.
Did Covid Cause NoLIta To Become More Affordable?
These days, NoLIta is trending towards becoming even more pricier with the listings being between $3 million and $10 million and rent rates hovering around mid $3000s for a 1 bedroom. Although the area is filled with swanky condos and built out apartments, of the 24,536 residents in 12,240 households, at least 83.78% of those living in this zipcode rent their living spaces.
The lack of affordability is even evident in listings such as the $12.8 million one on 233 Mott street, just a 2 minute walk from the Kloss/Kushner residence, which is vacant land but has received LPC & DOB approved plans for an 11,200 square foot, single-family mansion. This luxurious mock-up combined with the approval for a single family home appeals to some of New York’s wealthiest homeowners wishing to rub elbows with famous residents such as David Bowie and Iman, John Mayer and the Kushner/Kloss family, truly prominent modern day farmers of culture. Maybe the neighborhood hasn’t diverged too greatly from its original history.
Homes in NoLIta range from modern and minimalist to a residence fit for an eclectic billionaire like the one on 35 Spring St. selling for 12 million, whose shiny red closet doors, turquoise bathroom sink, updated kitchen and one of a kind chandelier are the perfect setting for a late night party with one’s 40 closet famous friends.
Where in NoLIta Should One Live To Take In The History?
One thing is for sure, living in NoLita means one will be surrounded by rich history, like the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral is the original Cathedral of the Archdiocese of New York. For a bargain (to the tune of 3.6 or 8.5 million dollars) one can currently buy a home at 262 Mott Street, an 1850s armory building with the Basilica in its back yard.
The listings at 262 Mott Street boast vaulted ceilings with exposed brick that neatly hold the historic charm of the building. PH410 comes with an 1,000 square foot balcony that overlooks the Basilica, while #405406 has gorgeous exposed wood beams and a massive chef’s kitchen to host dinner parties that will go down in history.
St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral seems to be the inspiration for much of the transition that is occurring in NoLIta. The prominent architectural and design company, MARVEL recently transformed the inside of the St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral School into the Residences at Prince Street. In the breakdown of their designs of this red brick building, MARVEL states that they wished to “peel back the layers and expose the building’s physicality, repairing but not clearing so as to celebrate its age and story”. This sentiment is reflected throughout the streets of NoLIta, whether or not designed by MARVEL, as the exterior facades of buildings maintain most, if not all of their original characteristics. With 612 buildings in the area contributing to classifying it as a Historic District, there are limitations to what kinds of updates can be made. Designs often use the original bones of the building for inspiration to meld a seamless design instead of a hard transition from old to new upon entering the residence. This is why one might be more likely to spot the rare sleek and modern building than a classic brownstone or brick building.
What Is There To Do In NoLIta If One Isn’t Able to Afford A Swanky Condo?
For those plebeians who may not be able to afford to rent or buy in NoLita, they can take advantage of some of the unique architecture and local eateries. Instead of being able to see it from your window, one can visit Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral for a walking tour of the catacombs, stop by the iconic Rubirosa Ristorante for a bite to eat or go shopping at the REI in the Puck Building and dream about the famous tenants above your head you’d love to go camping with.