Walks in New York and elsewhere

My comments on buildings, shops, restaurants that catch my eye as I wander around New York City and other places.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Monday, November 14, 2005

What's Left of Little Italy

Before leaving Chinatown, it's possible to visit the Museum of Chinese in America, at 70 Mulberry Street, for the time being. The museum will be moving in the near future to larger quarters.

The Italian families who lived on the nearby blocks have, for the most part, moved away although some restaurants (catering to tourists) and food shops remain. Of these, Di Palo's, at Mott Street, is the best, as indicated by the long snaking line inside the store. There is no place in the city with a better selection of Italian cheese and olive oil.

Ferrara's, across the street, between Mott and Mulberry, can satisfy anyone's sweet tooth with its southern Italian confections.

There is still evidence of an old family-run bank on the southwest corner of Grand and Mulberry.

Little Italy is always ready for a party. There are two "feasts" (street fairs) that still take place in the spring (St. Anthony) and fall (St. Gennaro) but the decorations stay up long after the event comes to an end.

At Centre Street there are two notable buildings. The former Police Headquarters building, designed by Hoppin and Koen, 1904-1909, was converted to luxury apartments in 1988. Can you imagine the height of the ceilings? It is a designated landmark, no surprise.

The Police building is so large and so spectacular that is easy to overlook the distinguished brownstone structure across the street from it. Trench and Snook designed the building in 1847-47. The rooftop addition dates from 1881-1882. The building was originally the Old Fellows Hall. It, too, is landmarked. The AIA Guide calls it a "high-rise in brownstone second only the Cooper Union."


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