A cafe with a vintage espresso machine and Mediterranean dishes is one thing, but such a cafe with a tattoo parlor and concept store attached? That's something else.
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The Smile is located in the NoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.
NoHo—the small neighborhood north of Houston (hence "NoHo")—serves as a buffer zone between Greenwich Village on the west and the East Village on the east. Compared to its southern neighbor SoHo, NoHo is a relatively quiet area, despite its proximity to (and some would say its overlapping borders with) New York University. The exact boundaries of NoHo are debatable and seemingly moveable (like many New York City neighborhoods), but it is generally understood to be bounded by Astor Place and Houston Street (on the north and south) and Broadway and The Bowery (on the west and east).
Far from the farmland it used to be, NoHo is now a fashionable and hip piece of New York’s most vibrant real estate. The former warehouse and retail district is a bona fide historic district, with over a hundred buildings ranging from the early nineteenth century to recent years. The neighborhood is home to majestic structures like Colonnade Row, the Cable Building, and the Schermerhorn Building, as well as the Joseph Papp Public Theater and Joe’s Pub. NoHo's history as a retail center is on display at the Merchant's House Museum, a family home kept intact that dates back to the 1800s.
Not that NoHo's days as a retail mecca are over, by any means. On Broadway, you'll find a massive American Apparel store, as well as local favorite Andy's Chee-Pees and every other type of store imaginable, rivaling nearby SoHo's offerings. NoHo's loft-heavy residential offerings have long been home to artists and writers, so it's hardly surprising to find great bookstores like Mercer Street Books, not to mention art house theaters like the Angelika Film Center and the stage venues like Astor Place Theatre, home of the Blue Man Group.
As for the overlapping parts of the NYU campus, two of the most renowned departments of the university—the Gallatin School Of Individualized Study and the Tisch School Of The Arts--are both located on Broadway in Noho. In August, NoHo is involved (along with much of Manhattan) in Summer Streets where huge swaths of city streets are turned into pedestrian walkways, bereft of cars and trucks. The annual NoHo Art Walk showcases emerging artists and the many wonderful art galleries in the neighborhood.