One of the interesting qualities of New York is the abundance of distinct and boutique neighborhoods. The posh and elite roam the streets of the Upper East Side while Chinatown is filled with the sights, sounds and flavor of the Chinese culture. Adding to the list of these distinct neighborhoods is SoHo which is both quirky and exciting. SoHo is one of the perfect illustrations of urban gentrification and is teeming with inviting art exhibits, superb dining destinations, diverse and fun stores and remarkable architecture.
SoHo is actually a mnemonic for ?South of Houston.? The quirky neighborhood spans southwards to Canal Street and is bordered by Lafayette Street (found to the east of Broadway) on the east and on the west by Sixth Avenue.
During its early years, Soho was a heavy industrialized district brimming with cast-iron warehouse and beautiful cobblestone alleys and streets. Several big high-end companies utilized these warehouses as storage facilities for their surplus products and took advantage of the intricate window fronds to showcase a few of their best offerings.
Unfortunately, this industrial epicenter went through a sharp decline the first few years if the 20th century and ?sweat shops? mushroomed all over. These ?sweat shops? illegally employed immigrants and minors with no decent, minute salary coupled with not conducive working atmosphere. Due to this, SoHo was dubbed as ?Hell?s hundred acres.? Labor laws were implemented eventually and the sweat shops disappeared one by one. However, the neighborhood became unattractive and rundown.
A breath of new life came to SoHo in the 1960s when brilliant artists with little money started transferring to the neighborhood. The spacious warehouses being rented at very affordable prices attracted starving artists who require space to do his or her craft at the lowest possible cost. The artists painted a better picture of SoHo and when the 1970s hit, it was known one of the most stylish and hop residential districts in Manhattan.
SoHo takes pride in holding the most extensive display of cast-iron buildings and architecture in the globe. This is most concentrated in the Cast-iron Historic District bordered by West Broadway, Crosby Street, Canal Street and Houston Street. The most cast-iron structure dense portion of this district is Green Street where approximately 50 19th century cast-iron structures are located. During its peak, cast-iron buildings were very prolific and are relatively cheap to make, but today, only a few remain standing and a thing of the SoHo?s industrial past.
At present, the spacious lofts which used to be cheap have gone up in value. Numerous artist residents of SoHo transferred to TriBeCa which is just a stone?s throw away from the neighborhood. While its appeal and reputation has slightly decline, SoHo still features a number of interesting galleries. Aside from art, there are also several shops ? some are more specialized and niche and some are of popular brands. The restaurants here are also very famous even among celebrities and reservations should be made far in advance.