Soho Neighborhood Guide
Galleries, artists, boutique restaurants, cobble stone streets and cast iron architecture with over 200 buildings. Welcome to Soho! Read about Soho in this SNYC neighborhood guide.
Soho is the area south of Houston Street in Manhattan. People ask me all the time why it is that we say how-ston and people in Texas say hue-ston? I say frankly I have no idea why. To-may-toe toe-ma-to. That works better when spoken! Either way I say Houston we don't have a problem here. Everything is A-OK. So we says things differently here!
In the 1980s I went to Soho on a fairly regular basis. It was very different back then. It was desolate. Many loft spaces, commercial spaces were being rented illegally as residences for poor starving artists, writers, musicians and performers. Many who later became rich and famous. Once upon a time it was possible to be a poor starving artist in New York City. It should be known that in the 1980s most New Yorkers wouldn't go below 14th Street! As if it was dangerous.
The galleries moved in to be near the artists and things began to change. So now what we have is all the designer boutiques and many upscale restaurants. There are affordable stores. Mostly on Broadway.
Soho is oh so beautiful. The cast-iron architecture is so glamorous compared to so many urban structures. And Soho has the largest collection of cast-iron architecture in the world with over 200 buildings! It's is easy in the midst of all the shops to not realize that you're walking through a national historic district. Then there's the cobblestone streets. Actually they are Belgian brick. But no need to get technical here. They add to the charm. Soho is perhaps the most beautiful commercial district in all 5 boroughs next to the Flatiron District/Ladies' Mile which I'll discuss in a different chapter.
If you go there on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon especially when the weather is nice, the streets will be packed with fashionable people and you may very well run into famous people shopping there or who live there!
David Bowie used to live in Soho. Rental prices there are astronomical! The photographer Cindy Sherman lived at 84 Mercer Street for 14 years until she sold in 2005 to actor Hank Azaria for $4,25 million. Azaria is best known as the voice of a number of characters on The Simpsons. Azaria lived there for a number of years and then in 2011 started renting it out for $16,000 a month!!! Then he sold it to the actress Meg Ryan in 2014 for $8 million!