SoHo in New York City
SoHo is a diverse neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan in New York, bounded roughly by Houston Street to the north, Lafayette Street to the east, Canal Street to the south, and the Hudson River to the west. The name for the area derives from its supposed similarities to the London Soho and the fact that it is "South of Houston". SoHo used to be a bohemian quarter of artists who subsisted in lofts, which at first weren't recognized as legal housing, and teeming art galleries. By now, the neighborhood has become so expensive that the art galleries have been generally priced out and have moved to the far west of Chelsea, while the struggling artists have had to move further and further into the other boroughs to find affordable places to rent. Now it is a neighborhood of expensive boutiques, but its narrow cobblestone side streets retain their charm, and even if the crowding on Broadway between Houston and Spring Streets can be draining, it is still a good neighborhood to walk through.
There are numerous subway lines that serve the neighborhood, and which one you use depends on which part of the neighborhood you wish to access. The 1 line runs under Varick Street, stopping at Houston and Canal Streets. The A, C, and E run under Sixth Avenue and stop at Canal Street, with the C and E also stopping at Spring Street. The N, Q, and R run under Broadway; the N and R stop at Prince and Canal Streets, while the Q express train skips Prince and stops at Canal. The B, D, F, and M serve the Broadway-Lafayette station at Houston Street, with a free transfer available to and from the 6 train stop at Bleecker St. The 6 runs under Lafayette Street, stopping at Spring and Canal Streets, and the J (and during rush hours, the Z) stop at Canal Street under Lafayette.
There are also several city bus lines that serve the neighborhood. Take the M1, M6, or M20 bus for uptown/downtown (north/south) service. The M21 runs crosstown, but traffic on Houston Street often makes for slow service.
If you are coming from a nearby neighborhood, walking is the best way to get into SoHo.
It's best just to walk around, look at the pretty old buildings on Broadway and the cobblestoned side streets, and if you like, shop at clothing stores and such on Broadway. West Broadway is another interesting and very upscale shopping avenue in the neighborhood.
- Children's Museum of the Arts (address: 182 Lafayette St) (directions: between Broome and Grand) +1 212 274-0986
open: W,F-Su noon-5PM, Th noon-6PM
Art and interactive exhibits geared towards children.
- New York City Fire Museum (address: 278 Spring St) (directions: between Varick and Hudson Sts) +1 212 691-1303 firstname.lastname@example.org
price: Suggested admission $7 adults, $5 seniors/students/children
Housed in a restored 1904 firehouse, the NYC Fire Museum covers the history of fire fighting in the United States from the 18th century to the present. Displays include antique aparatus, uniforms and equipment, as well as an apartment fire simulator.
- Film Forum (address: 209 W Houston St) (directions: between 6th and 7th Aves) +1 212 727-8110
Nonprofit cinema showcasing independent and art film.
- Here Arts Center (address: 145 6th Ave) (directions: at Dominick) +1 212 647-0202
Performing arts venue.
- The Performing Garage (address: 33 Wooster St) (directions: between Broome and Grand) +1 212 966-9796
Off-Broadway theater that is the permanent home of experiemntal theater company the Wooster Group.
SoHo is a prime shopping destination, especially on the weekends, when the sidewalks of West Broadway, Prince Street, and Broadway become almost impassible. Be warned though that the boutique stores have mostly been replaced by high-end chain stores.
- Kee's Chocolates (address: 80 Thompson St) (directions: Between Spring and Broome Sts) +1 212 334-3284
price: Chocolates are $2.45 each. Macaroons are $2.55 each
open: M-F 9AM-7PM, Sa-Su 11AM-7PM
Kee is widely considered by chocolate-lovers to be one of the best artisanal chocolatiers in New York. Anyone who likes chocolate will find some of her creations interesting and enjoyable. Among her truffles are balsamic, fennel, smoked salt, and Thai chili, as well as less unusual flavors like almond and hazelnut praline.
- McNally Jackson Booksellers (address: 52 Prince St) (directions: between Mulberry and Lafayette Sts) +1 212 274-1160
open: M-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 10AM-9PM
Formerly McNally Robinson Booksellers, this independent bookstore features an extensive collection of magazines, fiction, and nonfiction. The store also features a cafe, as well as a number of ongoing events, signings, book clubs and discussion groups.
- Pearl Paint (address: 308 Canal St) (directions: across from Mercer and between Broadway and Church) +1 212 431-7932
open: M-F 9AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 10AM-6PM
Considered by many artists to be the best and least expensive art supply store in New York.
- Pearl River Mart (address: 477 Broadway) (directions: between Grand and Broome) +1 212 431-4770
open: 10AM-7PM daily
Vast store of Chinese and other Asian goods: kitchenware, traditional clothing, home furnishing, tea.
- Uniqlo (address: 546 Broadway) (directions: at Spring St) +1 917 237-8811
open: M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 11AM-8PM
A Japanese clothing store for men and women. This location is the retail chain's only North American store.
- LF Stores (address: 149 Spring Street New York, NY 10012) 212.966.5889
LF Stores is not very big or well known, but it carries some unique items, such that celebrities have shopped here. The prices are a little bit on the high side, depending on the item - for example, shirts cost about $50-$200. The service is wonderful, and the staff is very helpful. Aside from clothing, there are such accessories as jewelry, scarfs, hats, and shoes. The outside of the narrow building is tan, and there is a doorman.
- Topshop (address: 478 Broadway 10013 New York) Tel: 2129669555
open: Monday: 10am-9pm Tuesday: 10am-9pm Wednesday: 10am-9pm Thursday: 10am-9pm Friday: 10am-9pm Saturday: 10am- 9pm Sunday: 11am- 8pm
Topshop is a women's clothing store that carries all types of clothing. It carries maternity clothing, designers, boutiques, and all sizes. The clothing is really fashion forward, and there have accessories. The main warehouse is in England. You can buy online or go to the store, which has two floors and an escalator. The prices vary, but they tend to run a little bit more on the high side. Items mostly vary from around $50-$90.
- Balthazar (address: 80 Spring St) (directions: between Broadway and Crosby) +1 212 965-1414
open: M-Th 7:30AM-5PM and 5:45PM-midnight, F 7:30AM-5PM and 5:45PM-1AM, Sa 8AM-4PM and 5:45PM-1AM, Su 8AM-4PM and 5:30PM-midnight
Balthazar has the feel and quality of a good Parisian brasserie. Though informal and relaxed in feel, it is not inexpensive; however, many New Yorkers and visitors alike find it a worthwhile experience. Brunch is especially popular there, so unless you plan to show up for an early breakfast, make sure you make reservations; you don't want to be one of the people waiting on line for an hour or more, just to get in.
- Famous Ben's Pizza (address: 177 Spring St, New York 10012) (directions: (At Thompson St)) (212) 966-4494
open: Mon-Thu:11am-11:30pm Fri-Sat:11am-12:30am Sun:12pm-10:30pm
Famous Ben's Pizza is one of the oldest and best pizza places in SoHo. Some people get taken on a pizza tour here. It is a small place with few tables, but the environment fits New York perfectly. You can watch as they make the pizza, and lines are usually out the door. Their pizza doesn't cost a lot. If you are just looking for a quick and simple meal while you are out shopping, Famous Ben's is a great place to consider. They deliver, too.
- Don Hill's (address: 511 Greenwich St) (directions: at Spring) +1 212 219-2850
DJs and occasional live bands.
- The Ear Inn (address: 326 Spring St) (directions: between Greenwich and Washington) +1 212 431-9750
open: Noon-4AM daily
Located on the ground floor of the James Brown House, the Ear Inn is one of the oldest bars in New York.
- 60 Thompson (address: 60 Thompson St) +1 212 431-0200
price: $450-$550">A 100 room luxury-driven lifestyle hotel by famed designer, Thomas O'Brien. The rooftop "members
- Mulberry Street Library (address: 10 Jersey St) (directions: between Lafayette and Mulberry) +1 212 966-3424
open: M,W noon-7PM, Tu,Th 10AM-6PM, F-Sa 10AM-5PM