Walking The Streets of Europe in Manhattan

I love streets in New York that make you feel as far from the city as possible. Obvious examples include Washington Mews and Pomander Walk, but a third less noted example is one of my favorites: Centre Market Place in Nolita.


Here, hidden in the shadow of the beautiful Police Building, a row of townhouses painted in pastel shades seem to transport you to the streets of France or Italy, making you completely forget you’re just blocks from the bustle of Chinatown and Soho.


Though simple in design, I love the detail and charm the buildings have…


A storefront…


Cast iron balconies…


Great address number…


Entrance to number 4:


Doesn’t feel like Europe without one of these…


Apparently, this look was largely orchestrated by Bob and Cortney Novogratz, developers who purchased four of the townhouses in 2004 (at the time, in much different shape). Huge collectors of unique and unusual antiques, they completely renovated all four buildings inside and out, installing finds from their travels like factory lights from France and carved wooden doors from Hungary. The couple was hoping to plant trees up and down the street and install 1930’s Parisian streetlights, but it looks like that plan never came to fruition. Disappointing, as the street could certainly benefit from the additions.


Number 4, the white building to the left of the green, was built to order, and includes a rooftop jacuzzi, a vintage pool table, a basement screening room and wine cellar, and a fourth floor zinc and mahogany bar imported from Paris.


But here’s my biggest question: what the heck is this thing?


I saw it while taking pictures, a domed cage.


The best satellite view I could find really doesn’t offer any hints (I think it’s the building to the right of the M in Market). My hope while taking pictures was that it was a really cool rooftop aviary, filled with exotic birds.


Turns out: it’s just a basketball court.


Ha, OK, this SEEMS like a big waste of a beautiful rooftop to me, but then, I suck at basketball. It’s a moot point anyway – check out the amenities in number 5 in this video to see why. And if you’re ever longing for the streets of Europe, take a walk down Centre Market Place.


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  1. Damn, that’s a nice house… How much could #5 be worth?

  2. Agent at the end of the video says $18 million. I’m almost surprised it isn’t more. Yikes.

  3. This gun shop used to be on the block. I always loved that sign. I think they moved onto Grand St. and took their sign with them.

    Also, if you can get the folks at O’Neals to take you into the basement, there’s still part of the tunnel that used to go straight from the bar into the basement of the Police Bldg. (I don’t know if it got filled in or not, but the entrance got bricked over.)

  4. I’d love to live there!

  5. I think you are right, Nathan. The gun shop is now on the south side of Grand Street

  6. ROTFLMAO – I used to live here back when it was still Little Italy. Right by the gun shop, the owner of which was the landlord. Believe me, this block looked NOTHING like it does now, this is hilarious. I only hope the buildings are structurally sound–just sayin

  7. If only that really was an aviary, and the owner an old-time New Yawker, with a German renter, then I guess this “Producers” reference would make sense:

    “But you won’t find him there. He’s up on the roof with his birds. He keeps birds. Dirty, disgusting, filthy, lice-ridden birds. You used to be able to sit out on the stoop like a person. Not anymore. No sir. Birds! You get my drift?”

  8. Was the basketball court the one used in The Pursuit of Happyness?

  9. I was watching Bravo tv and came upon a sneak peek of a new show called “9 by Design” and it’s basically a reality show on Bob and Cortney Novogratz. Apparently they wanted to mimic the dome in an adjacent building (forgot which), so they built a basketball court that way.

  10. very very nice. really impressive.

  11. Yes,
    I’ve seen that basketball court before:
    I’ve got a few other photos near that one in my flickr stream of that amazing rooftop apartment that was in NY magazine a while back…

  12. we have a wine cellar on our home and my grand daddy uses it a lot;’.