SoHo refers to the
area being “South of Houston Street”. During the colonial period the land that is now SoHo was part of a grant
of farmland given to freed slaves of the Dutch West Indies Company and is the site of the first free Black settlement in Manhattan.
After World War II, the textile industry moved to the South leaving many large buildings in the district unoccupied. It wasn’t
until the 1960s when artists began to be interested in the high ceilings with rows of windows of the empty manufacturing lofts
that the character of the neighborhood began to change.
In 2005 the construction of residential buildings on empty lots was
permitted and the area began to attract more affluent residents. SoHo’s location, the appeal of lofts as living spaces,
its architecture, and its “hip” reputation as a haven for artists all contributed to the change in the area. SoHo’s
boutiques and restaurants are clustered in the northern area of the neighborhood along Broadway and Price and Spring streets.
The side streets of SoHo contain original cobblestone paved streets which give the area a distinct look and feel unlike any
SoHo is bounded by Houston Street on the northern side,
Lafayette Street and Centre Street on the east, Canal Street on the south, and West Broadway on the west.
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