Soho New York
SoHo New York, or "South of Houston Street", is a Manhattan neighborhood consisting of 26 blocks and about 500 buildings. Known for its upscale shopping, architecture, and fine eateries, it is an extremely popular tourist destination. What makes SoHo unique is that over half of the buildings have cast iron architectural elements with most built between 1840 and 1880, and SoHo has the largest number in the world. A very unique and beautiful place to visit with many of the side streets paved in Belgian blocks, one can see why the streets of SoHo are used for many films. SoHo is considered an historic district and was named a National Historical Landmark in 1978. Artists began moving there in the 1970s followed by the very affluent, and it quickly became one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. What to See: Because SoHo grew into an art district, many tourists not only walk the famous streets to take in the unique cast iron architecture, but also for the many art galleries and spaces. Artist's Space is one of the city's oldest alternative galleries founded in 1972. The Drawing Center is a nonprofit gallery that is all about drawing and displays many up and coming local artists. The Film Forum shows many classic adult films from around the world including films from Cannes, Venice, and beyond. They also have family-appropriate films as well. HERE is an experimental space with a cozy lobby cafe showcasing new works from cutting edge artists. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, founded by Charles Leslie, showcases work by LGBT artists. The New York City Fire Museum has 18th century hand-pumped fire engines and also commemorates the heroism of firefighters after the attacks on the World Trade Center. Team Gallery showcases web artists and photographers. Where to Eat Eating in SoHo can be spendy, but worth it to take in some world-class seafood and other dishes: Balthazar has a $99 three-tiered seafood platter that dwarfs the competition. It is very trendy with a friendly staff and also serves a range of entrees including roast chicken and skate with brown butter and capers. Blue Ribbon Sushi is a SoHo favorite and is a great place for California rolls or miso soup. The Dutch has a diverse menu including Mexican Food, New England fare, and all-American favorites. Reservations are hard to come by so one must reserve in advance. Ed's Lobster Bar has many seafood plates including clam chowder, fried clams, and lobster rolls. It is so popular that many restaurants have created spinoffs including Mary's Fishcamp and Ditch Plains, but Ed's Lobster Bar remains the pioneer. For a cheaper choice, one can try: Caffe Falau for baby octopus tossed onto roasted potato, The Ear provides free snacks such as fried chicken and sausages on weeknights when you buy pints of Guinness, Fanelli's cafe for a perfect hamburger on a toasted onion roll, or Pinche Taqueria that serves fresh chicken, pork, fish, or shrimp tacos. Where to Shop AvaMaria is a well-known boutique that features many local emerging designers. Evolution is a unique shop that includes taxidermy and displays exotic and artful animal heads. One can also buy collectibles including replica skulls of wolves and lions, bracelets made out of genuine beetles or Monarch butterflies. The hat shop stocks Linda Pagan's own designs of hats ranging anywhere from a $20 beret to a $900 Kentucky derby style hat. Housing Works Bookstore Cafe is an unusual place that stocks a range of fiction and nonfiction as well as rare and collectible books. It is a peaceful spot for relaxation and meeting friends for wine or coffee Ina is a consignment shop with drastically reduced castoffs. It caters to women and could be a great place to find a deal in the expensive SoHo shopping district. Kiosk is a trendy collection of inexpensive items with a strong aesthetic design from around the world including from Mexico Germany and Japan. Kirna Zabete is a bi-level boutique with high-end designs from Balenciago, Lanvin, and Chloe as well as younger well-known designs from Alexander Wang and David Szeto. A day in SoHo is a must for anyone traveling to the Manhattan area. Its uniqueness will make one feel as if they are entering a whole different world with its impressive cast iron structures and eclectic boutiques and art studios. One is sure to leave there wishing they had just a little more time to explore.