Once an insular microcosm of Italian culture, art, and food, Little Italy NYC now offers mass appeal to people of all cultures. It’s an iconic Manhattan area that has made its mark on history, popular culture, and New York itself.
A mass immigration of Italian emigrants in the late 1880s established what came to be known as Little Italy NYC. The strong sense of community prevalent within Italian culture permeated through the new territory and by the early 1900s Little Italy became its own little piece of Sicily in Manhattan. In the last several decades, other surrounding neighborhoods have encroached on Little Italy’s territory, decreasing the size of the neighborhood’s reach. Despite this, the Italian influence is still noticeable and the area is considered one of the top spots for New Yorkers interested in Italian history, culture, and food.
Little Italy NYC has great accessibility to public transit. The 4, 5, and 6 trains run north and south and are never more than a couple blocks away from anywhere in the neighborhood. Additionally, the J, Z, N, and Q lines run through the area. These lines allow for transfer to other trains that will take you almost anywhere in Manhattan, Queens, or Brooklyn with ease.
Part of the allure of Little Italy NYC, outside of its rich culture and history, is the fascinating association the area has with some of New York’s most notorious figures. Located on historic Mulberry Street, visit Mulberry Street Cigars. The site was a frequent hangout for John Gotti and the Gambino Crime Family. If you find gangster history a bore, peruse the neighborhood to admire its one-of-a-kind street art.
You cannot talk about Little Italy NYC without mentioning the food. Do yourself a favor and save the street vendor slice for a different borough. With several authentic, Italian experiences available, treat yourself to a cannoli at Ferrara Bakery and Cafe, enjoy a plate of handmade and rolled pasta from Piemonte Ravioli, or visit one of Carrie Bradshaw’s frequent Sex and the City locales (or at least the restaurant the show shot at) at Onieals for $1 oyster happy hour.
Real estate costs in Little Italy NYC are on the higher end of the spectrum because of its prime location, yet average home prices in the area have dropped 41.5 percent in the last five years. Two bedroom properties are selling for an average price of $497,000, with apartment rentals comparably priced to neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, East Village, and West Village at approximately $3,350/mo.
The current real estate market in Little Italy NYC favors renters and buyers, so if you’re looking to find a centrally-located spot in the city that may be overlooked by others, Little Italy could be a great choice. The area has a rich history and culture, a thriving restaurant scene, and offers residents a little slice of Italy in NYC.