A cozy eight-story, 60-room "boutique" hotel from Michael Kang Architect?dubbed The Nolitan?has been slowly rising at the corner of Elizabeth and Kenmare Streets, and it hasn't really hit it off with the neighbors. A couple of years back, as the crew from Veracity Development started digging out the fenced-in parking lot where the shell of the hotel now stands, locals told endless tales about damage to neighboring buildings, which caused the hotel's excavation to stretch out over many months. Stop work orders were served on the hotel for giving neighbors the shakes and breaking a bit of glass. And that was just Round 1.
Next came a slew of complaints filed with the DOB, the more recent ones declaring the building is over-built and in disregard of zoning regulations. As if the violations weren't enough, the folks from Veracity didn't win any friends by naming this one The Nolitan. Now those really are fighting words! The site sits on the south side of Kenmare Street, and even the littlest NYer knows that Nolita is voiced only by the hoity toity newcomers on the other side of Kenmare and points north.
Could all this bad blood have been avoided if the Veracity gang simply called the new hotel by another name? Say, The D'Angelico, in honor of the famed guitar maker, John D'Angelico, who had his workshop on this site from 1932 up through the raucous early years of rock and roll. Or perhaps The Kenmare for the lingering Irish, in honor of the Tammany Hall gang who pushed folks out of their homes when they cut Kenmare Street through the heart of Little Italy over a hundred years ago. Not so cozy, or hospitable, that one. OK, The Nolitan it is.
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