SoHo represents the area from Houston Street to Canal, between Crosby and Sixth Ave: the name is a portmanteau referring to the area being “SOuth of HOuston Street.” The area was once famous for its booming art scene and artist community, home to such fixtures as Mary Boone, Gagosian, and more. Regrettably, the area was hit strongly by the economic changes of the 1980s and 1990s, and saw a large emigration of these artists and galleries to Chelsea and other neighborhoods.
Due to gentrification and economic change, there are very few artist communities and resources in SoHo. While you may enjoy the poignant art history of the area, nearby areas like Chelsea or the East Village may provide more in terms of tangible resources.
In the 1970s, SoHo found itself with many industrial buildings and little industry. These buildings were ideal spaces for artists, as they boasted large spaces, natural light, and low rents. The unique atmosphere and energy provided a thriving creative scene for artists and art lovers alike.
SoHo’s artistic history is rich and diverse. Just a few of the many artists who contributed to the amazing art culture of SoHo include: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Phillip Glass, Nam June Paik, Donald Judd, Chuck Close, Frank Stella, Vito Acconci, Jon Kessler, and Alex Katz.
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While wandering the neighborhood, you may recognize locations from scenes in Men In Black, Ghost, Hitch, Spider Man, and more.
DID YOU KNOW:
Before the Revolutionary War, SoHo was initially part of a grant of farmland given to freed slaves, and was the first free Black settlement in Manhattan.
The cast-iron architecture featured in approximately 500 SoHo buildings is why the area was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978.
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