The SoHo neighborhood in New York

Who I am
Martí Micolau
@martimicolau
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Index

  • How to reach us
  • What to do and see
  • Where to eat
  • Shopping
  • Sleeping in SoHo
  • A bit of history
  • Curiosity

The district of SoHo it is located southwest of the borough of Manhattan and is usually liked by everyone, for many good reasons!

It has a refined soul, is trendy, frequented by emerging artists and designers, perfect for shopping and also fascinating in appearance.


In Soho you will see cast iron buildings (many!), Red brick houses, streets often lined with trees, and the famous fire escapes outside: those of American films.


Roughly speaking, the neighborhood is bordered by Houston Street to the north, Canal Street to the south, Lafayette Street to the east, and Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) to the west.

How to reach us

Numerous subway lines arrive in SoHo.

The most convenient stations are the following:

  • Spring Street, linee A, C, E
  • Houston Street, linee 1, 2
  • Prince Street, linee N, R

Other stations to reach the neighborhood are Broadway-Lafayette Street (lines D, F, M), Canal Street Station (lines A, C, E) and Canal Street Subway Station (lines N, Q, R, W).

You can also get to SoHo with a nice walk. from nearby neighborhoods (Little Italy, Greenwich Village, Tribeca, Chinatown).

What to do and see

What to see in SoHo: one of the main crossroads in the neighborhood

To consider SoHo a perfect neighborhood only for shopping (which we will talk about in a moment) would be wrong.



In addition to window-shopping, shopping and walking thinking “will I be able to put all these bags in my suitcase?”, In fact, there is so much more to do.

Any suggestions:

Admire the cast iron buildings

If you loveindustrial architecture, SoHo will not be able to leave you indifferent.

Much of the neighborhood, in fact, is part of the Cast Iron Historic District, the historic cast iron district designated by the Landmark Preservation Commission of New York in 1973 and extended in 2010.

Most of the buildings date back to the end of the 800th century, a period in which cast iron was used to decorate the facades instead of the more expensive bricks.

The cast iron parts were first mass-produced in factories and later assembled on site.

The cast iron buildings are concentrated in Greene Street, which has about 50. You will also find them in Prince Street, Spring Street, West Broadway Street.

The most famous, both designed by Isaac F. Duckworth, are in the French Second Empire style and "live" quite close to each other:

  • The king, KING (28 Green Street), with beautiful Corinthian columns, is from 1873
  • to the queen QUEEN (72/76 Green Street), even more elaborate than his wife, is from 1872

On the corner with Prince Street there is also a "fake façade ”in cast iron, a must see: it is a trompe l'oeil painted in 1974 by Richard Haas.


The building is also noteworthy Haughhwout Building: inspired by Venetian architecture, it is located on the corner of Broome Street and Broadway, dates back to 1857 and is a last example of cast iron architecture.


Just think that it was the first building equipped with an Otis elevator that worked… steam!

This building also has another merit: being facing two streets, two cast iron facades would have been needed, but their weight could have led to the collapse of the structure. It was then decided to use the same cast iron as a structural element to keep the building standing.

The use of this metal structure anticipated the steel structures that would be used for skyscrapers from the beginning of the twentieth century.

Many therefore consider this building as the first skyscraper and in any case, as the most important cast iron structure ever built.

Also on Broadway is the famous Singer Building, dating back to 1904, made for the sewing machine company of the same name. It has 12 floors and the facade is in terracotta, glass and steel, with wrought iron balconies and painted arches. For the time it was futuristic!

Go to art galleries

Many galleries can be found in Chelsea, but there are still many in SoHo too!

Here are some useful references:


  • LUMAS (474 W Broadway)
  • Louis K. Meisel Gallery (141 Prince Street)
  • Peter Lik Soho (419 W Broadway)
  • Franklin Bowles Galleries (431 W Broadway)
  • Jamali Gallery (413 W Broadway)
  • Eden Fine Art Gallery (437 Madison Avenue)
  • Judd Foundation (101 Spring Street)

Go to the museum

Good idea! While not huge, SoHo's museums are very interesting.

The drawing center. A small but very well organized museum, specializing in drawings, from yesterday and today!


This center, which also exhibited rare drawings by Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Cézanne, was founded in 1977 in SoHo (initially, in a rented warehouse) by Martha Beck, a former assistant who had dealt with the drawings of the Museum of Modern Art.

Ms. Beck wanted to give greater value to drawings, often overlooked by museums, which tend to give more space to paintings and sculptures. The current address is at 35 Wooster Street.

Franklin Bowles Gallery. The museum, which also includes a former headquarters established in San Francisco, gives space to contemporary American and European mid-career or emerging artists. Address: 431 West Broadway.

Children's Museum of the Arts. A museum that offers children and families lessons, exhibitions, shows and many artistic activities with a practical cut. Address: 103 Charlton Street.

New York Fire Museum. Another museum that will thrill especially the little ones. It is located inside an old Fire Brigade barracks and houses oxygen masks, jackets, hats, documents, photographs, and even the oldest fire truck, dating back to 1790.

An exciting room was set up in memory of the firefighters who lost their lives in the 11/278 attacks. Address: XNUMX Spring Street.

New museum. A museum that presents contemporary art from all over the world. Open to new arts and new ideas, it focuses on the most original and avant-garde exhibitions. Address: 235 Bowery.

Enter the Mulberry Street Library

This branch of the New York Public Library is located in the Cast Iron District on the site of a former chocolate factory.

The entrance is on the ground floor, and there are two more floors below. The library has separate areas for children and young people, and two large rooms for adult reading and work.

Especially if you have fallen in love with “mum”, the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, you could also take a look at its SoHo office.

There is a nice atmosphere and it is appreciable that the building has been designed respecting as much as possible the characteristics of the original structure.

The use of new materials, such as wood and metal, offers a pleasant contrast to the existing materials, namely brick, cast iron and heavy wooden beams.

Address: 10 Jersey Street.

Vedere la Shrine Church of St Anthony of Padua

This Catholic parish church was founded in 1859 to serve the Spanish immigrant community and was, by far, the first Spanish parish in New York State.
Address: 155 Sullivan Street

Do nightlife

SoHo has nightlife!

Some suggestions for your "little nights":

  • Jimmy at the James, at the James Hotel (in the summer, the rooftop terrace will offer you a wonderful view of the Manhattan skyline). Address: 15 Thompson Street
  • City winery, a beautiful 350-seat winery. Address: 155 Varick Street
  • Pegu Club, for cocktails and live music, both excellent. The dishes are inspired by Asian cuisine. Address: 77 W Houston S
  • Sound Of Brazil, for a full immersion in Latin rhythms, soul, hip-hop, soul, reggae. Address: 204 Varick Street

Take a guided tour

A great way to discover the secrets of the area.

This six-hour guided tour will make you an expert in SoHo and the entire Downtown Manhattan area.

It is held by the professional guide Frank de Falco.

Where to eat

If you want to eat at Balthazar's, it is best to book in advance

 Any suggestions:

  • Dominique Ansel Bakery, to taste a cross between croissant and donut. Address: 189 Spring Street
  • Dean & DeLuca, an elegant food market with products from all over the world. Address: 560 Broadway
  • Fanelli Cafè, to enjoy American cuisine in a mid-800th century building. Noteworthy desserts and burgers! Address: 94 Prince Street
  • Raul’s. A former tavern, which has become a well-known and expensive French restaurant. Address: 180 Prince Street
  • Balthazar, a lively and romantic French-style brasserie, ideal for any meal of the day. You'll love the seafood, sweets, and breads, and perhaps remember Carrie and Samanta from Sex and The City, trying to get in in the first series! Address: 80 Spring Street

Shopping

SoHo boasts the presence of the latest fashion stores, in a happy mix: there are the most luxurious brands, large chains and even small shops. The staff is always polite, helpful and ready to help you "sin".

Shops can be found almost everywhere, but they are concentrated between Broadway, West Broadway, Prince Steet, Broome Street, Spring street, Greene Street.

SoHo is a sort of Fifth Avenue in miniature: be careful not to spend too much (unless you want to!).

Along the Broadway you will find famous and luxury brands. A few names: American Eagle Outfitters,
H&M, Uniqlo, Topshop, Forever21, Victoria's Secret, a huge Nike store, Clarks, Prada. For electronics, go to Best Buy.

There is also Bloomingdale's, albeit smaller than the one in Midtown.
You can then go shopping in a covered market! Artisti & Fleas Soho is open daily and sells unique, often handcrafted items.

Are you traveling with children? Take a trip to the headquarters of Scholastic, a great publishing house of children's books.

A West Broadway we point out French Connection, Reiss and “What Goes Around Comes Around”, a vintage shop loved by New Yorkers, stylists and bloggers, looking for pieces by Chanel and Hermès, for example.

In addition, there is Repetto, the passion of dancers!

Other shops are mostly found in Prince, Broome, Spring Street. You will gladly tackle these cobblestone streets to get to your destination.

A Prince Street, you can spend some time in the beautiful McNally Jackson bookstore: going into book stores is always pleasant but, for some reason, when we travel it is even more so.

Also of interest is the Papyrus greeting card shop and, of course, the Apple Store. For clothing, Brandy Melville, Moncler and Miu Miu.

In Broome Street find Isabel Marant's French-style clothing store, then Kirna Zabête, Kate Spade and, for men, Suitsupply New York and Indochino.

You may not buy furniture on vacation, but you will take a look at Matter: the shop was founded by designer Jamie Gray.

In Spring street you will find Chanel, The Frye Company shoe store, Adidas, and to buy glasses in the Big Apple, Sunglass Hut.

The MoMA Design Store is beautiful, you can buy very original souvenirs.

In the quiet Greene Street you will find the Scandinavian Acne's store, the cutting-edge sportswear and streetwear store Y-3, Saint Laurent, Tiffany & Co., Dior and Chloe, just to name a few.

If these roads are not enough for you, also aim towards Huston Street e Canal Street!

Also, in SoHo you will have no trouble finding stalls offering interesting handicrafts.

Sleeping in SoHo

Sleeping in SoHo has countless advantages:

  • during the day you will not be pressured by the hectic pace of Midtown Manhattan
  • in the evening you will have restaurants and nightlife at your fingertips
  • the location of the neighborhood is strategic for visiting Lower Manhattan on foot

There is also the downside: hotels are mostly expensive (American stars often stay there too!).

In any case, if you can choose, prefer the central area of ​​SoHo, also perfect as a starting point for your travels.

Recommended hotels in SoHo on Booking.com

A bit of history

The district was born around 1660; some of the first free slaves settled here, and the land was used for agriculture.

At the end of the nineteenth century, the availability of cheap labor led to the development of the textile industry (this is the reason for the many industrial buildings in the area) and a progressive urbanization.

Workshops and warehouses, however, did not last long: the population grew and the factories were relocated.

The consequent period of decay and abandonment of the buildings led to the hypothesis of the demolition and reconstruction of the buildings in the area, to transform it into a residential area with a modern imprint.

However, the project encountered many opponents, who pointed out the beauty of the buildings, to be preserved rather than canceled!

In the 60s, the idea of ​​recreating SoHo was fortunately shelved, and the neighborhood - particularly its hub, Green Street - became the home of many artists (who fled Greenwich Village, which had become too expensive).

What elements attracted the artists? In addition to affordable rents, vacant lofts offered large spaces and a sea of ​​natural light coming in through the windows, so they were just perfect.

After the artists, gallery owners appeared in SoHo, attracting customers and money.

SoHo then changed: at that time the cafes and the first shops began to emerge, and today the neighborhood is an elegant and decidedly trendy area.

Curiosity

  • As we know, New Yorkers love to use acronyms and abbreviations: think of SoHo, NoHo, NoLita, TribeCa, DuMbo. SoHo is not just one of these names, but the pioneer of acronyms! In fact, it was the very first to be invented, in 1968, by artists who opposed the conversion of old factories into residential lofts.
  • Other cities also have neighborhoods called SoHo. The most famous is the one in London's West End, but Birmingham, Copenhagen, Hong Kong also have their SoHo. There is also an area of ​​the same name in Malaga, and an "unofficial" neighborhood in Buenos Aires is called Palermo SoHo.
  • Famous movie scenes were shot in SoHo: Men in Black, Spiderman, Unfaithful; the house of the protagonists of the Ghost movie is located in SoHo at 102 Prince Street.
  • In SoHo they have, or have had homes, movie and music stars like Dakota Fanning, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, Daniel Craig, Claire Danes.

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