When I was a girl, and Sex and the City was all I had for an NYC cultural compass, I dreamed of living in a Carrie Bradshaw-esque apartment in the West Village (even though she was supposed to be in the Upper East Side…at least I knew where those brownstones really were).
A decade later and a decade wiser, I decided that I had the rest of my life to live in the West Village (as well as, regrettably, a bunch of money to make before I could afford the whole brownstone). I had just returned from living in Paris (#leftbankbitty!) in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Thus, it made sense that I set my sights on SoHo.
I trudged all around town with my realtor. It was the winter and I was crestfallen at a) the prices, b) the prices, c) the space (or lack thereof), and d) the fact that nothing came with a terrace. I was just about to give up when I found a miracle: a penthouse (avec une terrasse!) on Elizabeth Street and East Houston. Not quite SoHo, but close enough. The catch: I didn’t have a job. Another catch: it was with a stranger. She turned out to be lovely, and in retrospect she got the short end of the stick getting matched with me, but I had arrived in Nolita.
Another catch was that it was a short term rental, and it was priced affordably because, since it was winter, the outside space was deemed “useless.” Fortunately for me, it was a very mild winter, and I was sunbathing by the turn of spring. My heart was broken when they presented me with the summer prices.
I bid that apartment a sweet goodbye. I wasn’t used to that. I realize now, two years later, that it is very common to live a quasi-nomadic life in NYC. Most people I know move every year, and some even more. However, I was hooked. I was bound and determined to stay in Nolita. And here I stayed.
There are numerous reasons why I love being a Nolita Queen. Here’s why (and here is where it becomes abundantly clear that I don’t do much besides eat):
1) Ceci-Cela. Two words: coffee and croissants. I owe a lot to this place and the wonderful people who make sure I am caffeinated and fed, each morning. The coffee is the best in the city and the croissants are the closest to the authentic, Parisian thing. I am going to stand atop hyperbole hill and venture to say that I couldn’t live without this place.
2) Cafe Gitane. Say what you want, NYMag, I am a sucker for avocado toast. Hey, if Olivia Wilde is doing it, it can’t be bad. I can sit here all alone and feel absolutely comfortable. This place has become like my living room (especially since my actual living room is minuscule, as to be expected). I’ll bring a book, sip on some mint tea, and sit and snarkily Tweet silly things I overhear across the small tables.
3) Tacombi. #TacoThursays! I am unhealthily obsessed with this place. I gather that it might even range on annoying how enthusiastic I am about this place. I will not relent. Barbacoa, bitches. But, I’m not alone in this love affair. Corn esquites with a side of corn esquites, please! Oh, and don’t forget to chase some tequila down with the very best verde juice.
4) La Esquina. Skip the food, go downstairs to drink. Take a left at the kitchen and boom. Often playing random ’90s music (I shine here, because I have somehow retained every lyric to these songs), I actually really enjoy their Moscow Mule. However, as a wise friend once said, “Nobody regrets a pitcher of margaritas.”
Honorable mentions: Balaboosta, Ruby’s, Rubirosa.
My only real qualm with my neighborhood is: the San Gennaro Festival. It’s been going on for nearly 90 years and I really wish it would stop there. Leaving the house during this week is futile. Taking a shower is, too, because the minute you leave the house your hair instantly smells of street meat (très sexy). But you know what? I can tolerate it for the ten days.