SoHo, named after its location “South of Houston,” is the epitome of all that New York art and design has to offer, with its trendsetting galleries and stylish boutiques. Here is your private tour of the neighborhood.
Located west of Little Italy and north of Tribeca, SoHo is a historic neighborhood set at the heart of Manhattan. At the height of the American construction boom in the late 19th century, it grew to become a dense and cosmopolitan industrial district. Known then as “Hell’s Hundred Acres,” everything changed during the second half of the 20th century when industry gave way to an influx of artists and warehouses were converted into loft studios. This new population came to settle in the neighborhood at a time when rents were still affordable. However, when high rents chased the working classes out of central Manhattan in the 1980s, SoHo was not left behind. Though low-rent studios have all but disappeared, the neighborhood has kept an intrinsically artistic vibe, with its original cast-iron facades, renowned antique dealers and, of course, a diverse range of boutiques.
Today SoHo is a hotspot for shopping, with fashionable big-name stores alongside bold concept stores.
That said, SoHo is not just a fashionista’s paradise. And although a designated landmark area since 1973, the SoHo–Cast Iron Historic District is also more than the sum of its industrial facades. It is a destination for those who want to take the artistic pulse of the city as well. From the New Museum of Contemporary Art with its challenging collection to the Children’s Museum of the Arts SoHo with art for and by the young generation, there is something for every art lover. It is the neighborhood’s galleries that give SoHo its unique DNA. One of the most iconic, Artists Space, has been around since 1972. The controversial works on display there have been shaking up the art world for decades.
A Neighborhood with Major Tourist Potential
According to official census numbers, SoHo has no more than 13,000 inhabitants. Locals have been fighting to preserve the soul of the neighborhood and, in particular, its architectural identity. At the same time, gentrification has rendered the area very attractive to tourists, especially its main shopping strip made up of Broadway and Prince and Spring streets. Since new building permits were opened up for the last vacant lots in 2015, there has been a steady increase in the number of hotels and tourist accommodations. As a result, reservations in the area have been increasing by around 3% per year.
Famous Food and Drinks…
Balthazar: A Parisian-inspired brasserie, a neighborhood institution
80 Spring Street
Charlie Bird: While the name evokes the most famous of all birds, Charlie Parker, the food is Italian-American and the wines are very fine indeed (its sommelier won World’s Best Sommelier).
5 King Street
The Dutch: Williamsburg has the best steakhouses, the East Village the best ramen, but The Dutch proves that in SoHo, the bistro is king. Here both oysters and classic burgers are on the menu.
131 Sullivan Street