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Tribeca, and SoHo (Artists) Areas are populare with lofts
Tribeca is dominated by former industrial buildings that have been converted into residential buildings and lofts, similar to those of the neighboring SoHo Cast Iron Historic District. In the nineteenth and early 20th centuries, the neighborhood was a center of the textile/cotton trade.
Notable buildings in the neighborhoods include the historic neo-Renaissance Textile Building built in 1901 and designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh, the Powell Building, a designated Landmark on Hudson Street, which was designed by Carrère and Hastings and built in 1892.[5] At 73 Worth Street there is a handsome row of neo-Renaissance White Buildings built at the end of the Civil War in 1865. Other notable buildings include the New York Telephone Company building at 140 West Street with its Mayan-inspired Art Deco motif, and the former New York Mercantile Exchange at 6 Harrison Street.
During the late 1960s and '70s, abandoned and inexpensive Tribeca lofts became hot-spot residences for young artists and their families because of the seclusion of lower Manhattan and the vast living space. Jim Stratton, a Tribeca resident since this period, wrote the 1977 nonfiction book entitled "Pioneering in the Urban Wilderness," detailing his experiences renovating lower Manhattan warehouses into residences.

After abandonment of the highway scheme, the city was still left with a large number of historic buildings that were unattractive for the kinds of manufacturing and commerce that survived in the city in the 1970s. Many of these buildings, especially the upper stories which became known as lofts, attracted artists who valued the spaces for their large areas, large windows admitting natural light and cheap rents. Most of these spaces were also used illegally as living space, being neither zoned nor equipped for residential use; yet, this zoning violation was ignored for a long period of time as occupants were using space that would have most likely been dormant or abandoned as a result of the poor economy in New York City during that time.
SoHo boasts the greatest collection of cast-iron architecture in the world. Approximately 250 cast iron buildings stand in New York City and the majority of them are in SoHo. Cast iron was initially used as a decorative front over a pre-existing building. With the addition of modern, decorative facades, older industrial buildings were able to attract new commercial clients. Most of these facades were constructed during the period from 1840 to 1880. In addition to revitalizing older structures, buildings in SoHo were later designed to feature the cast iron.

As the artist population grew, the city made some attempts to stem the movement, especially concerned about the occupation of space that did not meet residential building codes, and the possibility that the space might be needed at some time for the return of manufacturing to New York City.
Pressured on many sides, the city eventually gave up on attempting to keep the district as strictly industrial space and in 1971 permitted certified artists to reside and work in their spaces. The area received landmarks designation as the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District in 1973.
The historic district is officially bounded by Houston Street, West Broadway, Canal Street and Centre/Lafayette Street. It is noted for the elaborate cast-iron architecture of many of its buildings, most of which date from the late 19th century. These buildings originally housed warehouses, factories and sweatshops. It is also noted for its Belgian block streets.
The neighborhood rose to fame as a neighborhood for artists during the 1960s and 1970s, when the cheap spaces vacated by departing factories were converted by artists into lofts and studios. SoHo's lofts were especially appealing to artists because they could use the wide spaces and tall ceilings that factories and warehouses required to create and store their work. During this period, which lasted until 1971 when the Zoning Resolution was amended to permit Joint Live-Work Quarters for Artists, living in SoHo was often of dubious legality, as the area was zoned for light industrial and commercial uses rather than residential, and many residents had to convert their apartments into livable spaces on their own, with little money. Then, in 1971, the M1-5a and M-5b districting was established to permit visual artists, certified as such by the Department of Cultural Affairs, to live where they worked. This law is still in effect and, for the most part, only visual artists and their families are permitted to legally live in converted lofts in SoHo. In 1982, non-artists residing in SoHo and NoHo were permitted to grandfather themselves, but that was the only extension to non-artists and it was a one-time deal. In 2005 the construction of residential buildings in empty lots within the historic district was permitted. Nevertheless, with no enforcement of the new zoning laws by the City, beginning in the 1980s, in a way that would later apply elsewhere, the neighborhood began to draw more affluent residents. Chinatown, due to rent protection and stability afforded by the 1982 Loft Law, in addition to the fact that many of the artists owned their co-ops, many of the original pioneering artists remained despite the popular misconception that gentrification forced them to flee. Many residents have lived in the neighborhood for decades. In the mid-90s, most of the galleries moved to Chelsea but several well known galleries remain including The William Bennett Gallery, Terrain Gallery, Franklin Bowles Gallery and Pop International Gallery.
SoHo's location, the appeal of lofts as living spaces, its architecture and, ironically, its "hip" reputation as a haven for artists all contributed to this change. The pattern of gentrification is typically known as the "SoHo Effect" and has been observed in several cities around the United States. A backwater of poor artists and small factories in the 1970s, SoHo became a popular tourist destination for people looking for fashionable (and expensive) clothing and exquisite architecture.
SoHo's boutiques and restaurants are clustered in the northern area of the neighborhood, along Broadway and Prince and Spring streets. The sidewalks in this area are often crowded with tourists and with vendors selling jewelry, t-shirts, and other works, sometimes leaving no space for pedestrians to walk. SoHo is known for its commercialization and eclectic mix of different boutiques for shopping, including Prada, A Bathing Ape, G-Star Raw, Bloomingdale's, H&M, Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Victoria's Secret, Miu Miu, Puma AG, Dolce & Gabbana, Urban Outfitters, Apple Store, J. Crew and Calvin Klein. Yet, the southern part of the neighborhood, along Grand Street and Canal Street, retains some of the feel of SoHo's earlier days. Canal Street at SoHo's south boundary contrasts with the former's posh shopping district in offering electronics and cheap imitation clothing and accessories.
Nearby neighborhoods include:
To the north: Greenwich Village and NoHo
To the east: Little Italy, NoLIta, and the Lower East Side
To the west: Hudson Square
To the south: Chinatown, TriBeCa

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