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About SoHo

What was once industrial squalor is now SoHo, one of New York City's most famous neighborhoods. It is comprised of 26 city blocks and about 500 buildings in what is known as the Cast Iron Historic District. The neighborhood's unique name is derived from South Street and Houston Street, as SoHo lies South of Houston Street, and it is bordered by Canal Street, Crosby Street, and West Broadway. SoHo's cast iron buildings are some of the finest in the world. They've been around since the late 1800s and were built to serve as factories and warehouses. The buildings are fascinating and impressive with elements like cornices, columns, and balustrades. Like a modern-day IKEA, the pre-fabricated pieces of the buildings were created in molds.

It's hard to imagine, but the whole area was rural before becoming a residential neighborhood in the early 1800s. By mid-century, it had become a very fashionable district, and the streets were lined with stores like Tiffany & Co., Lord & Taylor, and Brooks Brothers with hotels, theaters, and casinos in between. By the 1870s, residents and the neighborhood nightlife moved north making room for textile factories. These industries began leaving in the early 1900s, and by 1950 the area was desolate and become known as "Hell's Hundred Acres". Fast forward to the "psychedelic '60s". Artists who could no longer afford pricey Greenwich Village moved into the abandoned buildings and converted them into loft apartments and art studios. The community flourished, and this growth gave rise to the galleries, exhibitions and theatric performances of today.

Fast forward even further, and you have today's fabulous SoHo, a place for luxury condos, art galleries, high-end retailers, and trendy bars and restaurants. It's true that today, many of these artists and galleries have once again been priced out of the neighborhood, but there's still plenty of art left around, especially along West Broadway. You'll find works by Rembrandt, Picasso, Matisse, and Dali at Franklin Bowles Galleries.