The high-end Soho Neighborhood is renown for its wide variety of luxury designer stores, trendy eating spots and cool art galleries.
Soho is one of Manhattan’s most prestigious neighborhoods, known worldwide for its beautiful cityscape of old cast-iron buildings, as well as trendy galleries and upscale boutiques. Most sources concur that the district runs from Canal Street on south to Houston on north, but they differ on east and west boundaries. The most liberal consider the east boundary to be Lafayette Street, and west, the Hudson River. The area is served by many subway lines, including 1/2/3/9, A/C/E, B/D/F/M and N/R/W/Q.
Almost all of Soho is part of the Cast Iron Historic District designated by NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to celebrate the industrial building boom of the mid-19th century. The historic district encompasses 26 blocks and about 500 buildings on Soho’s stone-paved streets. Cast iron was a preferred building material because of its durability, fire resistance, and suitability for large, column-free loft spaces.
In the 1950s and 60s, industries began to migrate from Manhattan to areas with cheaper labor and resources. In 1971, a major zoning change legalized some residential uses in the area. Soho soon became known as a center for the arts, where artists produced creative work, and galleries and museums thrived. Soho also became a center for fashion and is now even more well known for upscale retail than for art. Some residents call it, “the mall of Manhattan,” because of the many shoppers who line the streets every day. Designer shops with a presence in Soho include Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany, to name a few.
NYC & Company, the city’s official marketing, and tourism organization, says, “In the 1970s and ’80s, Soho was the City’s best-known art district, though these days the neighborhood is more famous for its retail and restaurants. Still, there is plenty of work here that is not to be missed. The vibrant, modern vibe of the area’s top galleries goes perfectly with a shopping trip. Don’t miss Team Gallery, The Drawing Center, Deitch Projects, and Peter Freeman, Inc.” Now that Soho has transitioned, in the last 50 years, from industrial, to arts and commerce, to residential, the city is once again contemplating rezoning to enhance the mixed-use character of the area. Residents hope revised zoning may bring more services like supermarkets to the area while preserving artistic activities. The city has been holding public hearings and community board meetings to discuss any potential zoning changes.
Today, roughly 8000 New Yorkers live in the Soho area, with the population growing as more units are constructed. Glamorous Soho is one of the most desirable residential neighborhoods in New York City, and prices reflect its appeal. The average one-bedroom rents well above $4000/month and two-bedrooms exceed $10,000/month.
Notable buildings in Soho include: 55 Thompson Street, Nathaniel, 229 Christie Street, 261 Hudson Street, and the Nathaniel. Soho is definitely a neighborhood to consider for anyone who enjoys the excitement and has a taste for the arts. It is always full of activity, and the fashion and fine arts on display offer an ever-changing tableau in the streets of this lovely neighborhood.