SoHo

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SoHo, Canal Street to Houston Street, and Lafayette Street to Varick Street.
SoHo Seeking to identify their group geographically, the community consulted a city Planning Commission map that described the area as "South of Houston", "Houston" being Houston Street. Hence; shortened to ("SoHo"), the group voted to call itself the SoHo Artists Association and the name for the neighborhood stuck. SoHo is a neighborhood in the Manhattan borough of New York City in the United States. In the 1840s and 1850s, it was an area with more bars and brothels than anywhere else in the city, catering to a male clientele from all social stations from clerks through the middle class to the city's elite, all of whom filled the area's streets and sidewalks from Saturday night to Monday morning. Eventually, as the center of the growing city continued to move uptown, the quality of the area declined, until it became known as Hell's Hundred Acres, an "industrial wasteland", full of sweatshops and small factories in the daytime, but empty at night.
In the mid-20th century, artists began to move in to have large spaces in which they could both live and work, in what were called loft spaces. In 1968 artists and activists were forming an organization to legalize their living in a manufacturing zone.
SoHo 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
The neighborhood's association with the arts has expanded over time, and the area has become a famous destination for shopping. It is an archetypal example of inner-city regeneration and gentrification, encompassing socio-economic, cultural, political and architectural developments. It is also known as the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District because of the many buildings incorporating cast iron architectural elements.

SoHo Geography
The Neighborhood. SoHo is a neighborhood bounded roughly by Houston Street on the north, Lafayette Street/Centre Street on the east, Canal Street on the south, and Avenue of the Americas on the west, based on SoHo's unique M1-5a/M1-5b zoning passed in 1971.
The Historic District. The SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District is contained within the zoned SoHo neighborhood. Originally ending in the west at the eastern side of Sixth Avenue and to the east at the western side of Crosby Street, the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District was expanded to cover both sides of West Broadway and to extend east to Lafayette/Centre Streets. The lines are not straight, and some block-fronts on West Broadway and Lafayette are excluded from the Historic District.
Distinguished from the South Village and Hudson Square. Although the SoHo Alliance, Community Board 2, Manhattan and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) all agree that all the western boundary of SoHo north of Broome Street ends at West Broadway, some have claimed the area to extend west to The Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) and, more recently, to the Hudson River. However, the area west of West Broadway and east of Sixth Avenue is traditionally called the "South Village" and The South Village does not share the same zoning nor has it the cast-iron architecture that helps define SoHo. More recently, various real estate interests have been describing "Soho" (sic) as extending to the Hudson River. However, again, this area, more commonly called "Hudson Square", is zoned differently and is not part of SoHo.

Cast Iron District and LoMEx in SoHo:
SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District is a historic district in New York City that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1978. Originally, it consisted of 26 blocks and approximately 500 buildings, but was later expanded.
The boundaries were originally the east side of West Broadway on the west, West Houston on the north, the west side of Crosby Street on the east, and Canal Street on the south, with a notch taken out of the lower right-hand corner. In May 2010, the SoHo-Cast Iron District was expanded to include most of the west side of West Broadway between Grand Street and Houston Street and, to the east, Lafayette Street/Centre Streets. The original notch was filled in, but certain parts of Lafayette Street were excluded. The name SoHo is actually a syllabic abbreviation of "South of Houston."
What became SoHo was to have been the locale of two enormous elevated highways, comprising the two branches of the Lower Manhattan Expressway. The highway was intended to create an automobile and truck through-route connecting the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges on the east with the Holland Tunnel on the west.
The young historic preservation movement and architectural critics, stung by the destruction of the original Pennsylvania Station and the threat to other historic structures, challenged the plans because of the threatened loss of a huge quantity of 19th century cast iron structures, which were not then highly valued by the general public or contemporary business community. When John V. Lindsay became mayor of New York City in 1966, his initial reaction was to try to push the expressways through with political spin, dubbing the Robert Moses project the Lower Manhattan Expressway (or LoMEx), depressing some of the proposed highway in residential areas and stressing the importance of the artery to the city. Nevertheless, through the efforts of Jane Jacobs, Tony D'apolito and other local, civic and cultural leaders, as well as SoHo artist residents themselves, the project was derailed.

SoHo Artist studios and 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.
An American architectural innovation, cast iron was cheaper to use for facades than materials such as stone or brick. Molds of ornamentation, prefabricated in foundries, were used interchangeably for many buildings, and a broken piece could be easily recast. The SoHo buildings could be erected quickly, some were built in only four months' time. Despite the brief construction period, the quality of the cast iron designs was not sacrificed. Previously, bronze had been the metal most frequently used for architectural detail. Architects now found that the relatively inexpensive cast iron could form the most intricately designed patterns. Classical French and Italian architectural designs were often used as models for these facades. And because stone was the material associated with architectural masterpieces, cast iron, painted in neutral tints such as beige, was used to simulate stone.
There was a profusion of cast iron foundries in New York, including the major firms of Badger's Architectural Iron Works, James L. Jackson's Iron Works, and Cornell Iron Works.
Since the iron was pliable and easily molded, sumptuously curved window frames were created, and the strength of the metal allowed these frames considerable height. Thus, the once somber, gas-lit interiors of the industrial district were flooded with sunlight through the newly enlarged windows. The strength of the cast iron permitted high ceilings with sleek supporting columns, and interiors became more expansive and functional.
During cast iron's heyday, many architects thought it to be structurally more sound than steel. It was also thought that cast iron would be fire resistant, and facades were constructed over many interiors built of wood and other flammable materials. But, when exposed to heat, cast iron buckled and later cracked under the cold water used to extinguish fire. In 1899, a building code was passed mandating the backing of cast iron fronts with masonry. Most of the buildings which stand today are constructed in this way. It was the advent of steel as a major construction material that brought a rapid end to the cast iron era."

Historic district and Joint Living Work Quarters for Artists.
The SoHo 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. 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 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. 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, 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. 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.

Notable Famous residents from SoHo:
* John Mayer
* Julia Stiles
* Thierry Henry