Neighborhood Image

LOCATION: Lower Manhattan. From Houston to Canal Streets, between the Hudson River and Lafayette Street. SUBWAYS: F, V to Broadway-Lafayette Street; N, R to Prince Street; C, E to Spring Street. HISTORY: SoHo stands for "South of Houston" (pronounced “How-stun”). Once known as the South Village, the area was transformed from farmland to an upper-class neighborhood in the early 19th century. It has gone through subsequent incarnations as a shopping district and later as the "Cast-Iron District," when warehouse and loft spaces of similar construction became common throughout the area. Beginning in the 1960s, it began to attract more and more artists, who were drawn to the area's cheap rents and ample work spaces. They squatted in empty buildings and since in the 60's pretty much all buildings here were empty, they gradually filled the neighborhood. These very same people who made it livable and "cool" were eventually forced out by the rising prices. In the 1970’s, the area was given landmark status due to its Cast Iron Building architecture. CHARACTER: SoHo is one of Manhattan’s trendiest and most colorful areas. It is one of the most desirable locations in the city—replete with mammoth loft apartments, sidewalk art sales, and every clothing designer you could think of. The latest in clothing and home furnishings often appear here before anywhere else. Adding to the neighborhood's distinction are cobble stoned streets, open-air cafes, and buzzing bistros and bars. SoHo is also the heart of Manhattan’s art scene. There are more than 250 galleries, four museums, 200 restaurants, and 100 stores. The neighborhood is home to the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of African Art, and a branch of the Guggenheim Museum. Today, most of the area is populated with Wall Streeters, young urbanites and still many artists. Among the "artistic" people, two categories have survived - those who made it big (famous actors, painters, musicians) and those who squatted in the 1960's and now own their lofts. FOOD/NIGHTLIFE: Specialty food stores and sophisticated restaurants are found all over this area. Many of the city’s “best” restaurants are located here as well as lower-key local favorites. If the downtown night flair is your thing, you can almost assuredly walk to your destinations or at worst take a very cheap cab ride. Famous lounges have come and gone through the years, but new ones are popping up all the time. If there’s one thing that’s certain in SoHo, it’s that anyone roaming the streets, at almost any time of day, will find something to satisfy his or her particular eating, drinking, or hanging out appetite.