Famous for its art galleries, designer boutiques, cobblestone streets and cast-iron architecture, SoHo has always been full of buzz - wowing both tourists and locals alike. It’s rich with history (more so than most neighborhoods). So, whether you’re a computer nerd, serial shopper or foodie, you’re guaranteed to find something exciting to do in this storied neighborhood.
SoHo is bounded by Houston Street to the north, Canal Street in the south, 6th Avenue to the west and Crosby Street on the east.
The neighborhood has gone through many ups and downs over its long history. Enough to make a voluminous history book. When the Dutch discovered Lower Manhattan, they came across indigenous people living on the island. Technically, the American Indians were the first Manhattanites and then the Dutch moved in making them the second original Manhattanites.
After the Civil War ended, the west side of Lower Manhattan flourished because the shipping routes changed. Textiles and the need for all types of products increased. Warehouses and large lofts were built and replaced farmland to accommodate the commerce. Many of those buildings are still standing and give SoHo its unique character and charm.
The bustling commerce eventually stopped and in the mid 1800’s, well-to-do families began moving into SoHo. They built exquisite buildings, many of which are characterized by their cast-iron facades. Soon after it became residential, theatres, music halls and eateries followed. The wealthy eventually left and the once prosperous district began another decline.
The 1960’s marks SoHo’s most definitive period. City planners lost their bid to build a major highway that would level a portion of the neighborhood and many historic buildings. After their failed attempt to revitalize SoHo, artists quickly moved into the empty lofts and warehouses. Some legally, and other move-ins, not so legal. The city turned a blind eye. Artists of all mediums working from their new creative spaces created a ripple in the art scene. It was such a ripple that the well-to-do uptown crowd started buying their art and hanging out with them. The uptown folks eventually moved into the neighborhood and began buying up the lofts and warehouses. As soon as the word spread, up went the property values and the rest is history.