Card no. 13 - photos
The catchy name of this trapezoid of narrow streets, well-scrubbed former tenements, boutiques is borne out by the small scale, slow pace, and continental style of old residents and recent arrivals.
Begin at Houston and Lafayette Streets (6 train to Bleecker Street).
Head south on Lafayette, where, just south of Prince, and next to Ladder Company No. 20, you'll find the Fire and the Police Store, both irresistible stops for levers of badges, batons, and New York T-shirts. Turn right on Prince toward Mulberry, where New York's original St. Patrick's Cathedral, consecrated in 1815, is enclosed by a beautiful, if alarmingly canted, brick wall. (If the gate on Mulberry is open, take a look at the lovely graveyard within.) There is a gift shop across the street, below sidewalk level. On the south side of Prince Street between Mulberry and Mott is St. Patrick's School, staffed for close to 200 years by the Sisters of Charity, the first American community of Catholic Sisters. Opposite the cathedral's Mott Street entrance is the former Fourteenth Ward Industrial School, established in 1888 by the Children's Aid Society. The striking 12-bay building with turquoise fire escapes up Mott Street was designed by the principal architect of Central Park, as housing for Irish immigrant families. Amid these echoes of the 19th century, some of New York's most imaginative young clothing, shoe, and accessory designers have transformed old neighborhood storefronts into luscious, one-of-a-kind shops. Take you time in this charming neighborhood, stopping for coffee at Cafe Gitane, or lunch at the very tiny Bistro Margot, both at Prince and Mott, before strolling east to Elizabeth Street and south into what remains of Little Italy (Walk 8).
From City Walks: New York: 50 Adventures on Foot by Martha Fay