NoHo offers old New York charm with street art and mom-and-pop shops

Strolling down the cobblestone streets of NoHo and staring up at the loft-style apartment buildings, New Yorkers can almost imagine a grittier time in the city.

That feel of old New York, experts and residents said, is what gives the small enclave its charm: It’s just cool enough to hearken back to the days when the city was just a bit dirtier, just a bit cooler.

The area, a large swath of which is landmarked, is a mix of new construction and old buildings from the 1800s, said Rob Morea, a sales associate with Great Jones Realty who has worked in the neighborhood for 28 years.

“It’s basically new among the old,” said Morea. “It’s kind of this high-end story of New York.”

Morea said the new construction, which has been booming for the last 10 years or so, has led to an increase in neighborhood prices. But lately, he said, even that has started to slow down.

In 2015, the median recorded sales price for the area was $3.875 million, according to listings site StreetEasy. The median recorded sales price for Manhattan in 2015 much lower, at $985,000.

As of October 2016, the median recorded sales price for NoHo fell to $3.2 million, according to StreetEasy.

“We’ve seen a softening of the high-end developments,” Morea said. “You’re getting people who might be thinking about starting a family but aren’t quite there yet.”

Ricardo Riethmuller, 33, has been living in NoHo for about 10 years, and attended NYU nearby before that. Riethmuller loved the area so much that when moved apartments earlier this month, he decided to stay within the boundaries of NoHo.

“It’s really at the crossroads of all the communities,” said Riethmuller, who works as theater and film director and producer. “It’s very much at the center of the city. It’s very eclectic.”

Sandwiched between Cooper Square and the commercial strip of Broadway, residents have their pick of mom-and-pop shops or big chains, including Urban Outfitters, and a Wendy’s complete with a fireplace and big screen TV’s on Broadway.

Side streets are dotted with inventive stores and restaurants, like Mexican eatery Hecho en Dumbo or The Great Jones Cafe, which has been around since 1983.

Terri Cude, the chair of Community Board 2, said the neighborhood tends to be very eclectic and focused on its arts past.

NoHo has a punk rock and artist-driven history, once home to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, and music icon CBGB & OMFUG, according to NYC & Company, the city’s official guide.

Street art is still visible, including the beautiful, swirled chiseled sidewalks on Bond Street by sculptor Ken Hiratsuka. And a large area of the neighborhood has been landmarked through the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, including from Mercer Street to Bowery and the iconic blocks of Great Jones and Bond streets

“It’s a robust neighborhood,” said Cude, who has lived in NoHo for 12 years. “There’s the old meets new, but much of the new gently nods to the old.”

Paul Olliver, 43, has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years and said its location is one of the best draws.

“Everything is here: restaurants, bars, my office,” said Olliver, who walks to his online advertising job in SoHo.

But it’s hard to ignore the influx of new apartments, he said.

“The amount of building that’s going on in the last few years has taken away some of the grit,” Olliver said. “It’s New York, it’s always been changing.”