NoHo, named for its location just 'NOrth of HOuston', is a small historically commercial district wedged between the Bowery and Broadway. The northern border is traditionally Astor Place, while the southern extent of the neighborhood ends at Houston Street. NoHo is also sandwiched between the Bowery on the East and Boradway on the West.
Following its development through the turn of the 20th-century, the neighborhood established itself as a major merchant hub for the sale of dry goods. Known at the time as the 'Warehouse District', NoHo later experienced an influx of artists and loft dwellers due to the availablity of large industrial spaces. The loft-style space is the predominant dwelling style available. This, combined with its central location, makes NoHo one of the most desirable Manhattan neighborhoods. One of these so-called loft dwellers was American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, best known for his stylized, large-scale portraits. Most often featuring naked men and flowers, Mapplethorpe's focus was black and white photography.
In the 1820's, Lafayette Street opened and rose to the height of fashion. The distinctive 19th-century architecture has survived in Colonnade Row, although only half of the original still exists. Built in 1833 by Seth Greer, as envisioned by architect Alexander Jackson Davis, the building now sits across from the Public Theater. This portion of New York City's 19th century commercial history is preserved today by the NoHo Historic District (designated in 1999 by the LPC, expanded 2008). Comprising between 100 and 125 buildings, the NoHo Historic District preserves the ornate storefronts and loft buildings designed by acclaimed architects in popular styles. These buildings were the elegant backdrop in front of which a steady parade of shoppers and powerful merchants browsed, bought and sold a wide variety of goods and products, promenaded, showed off their couture and enjoyed the large display windows with their sumptuous dressings. The Historic District also preserves key institutional buildings, houses and office buildings of the period, as well as later commercial structure, providing a gradated snapshot of the architectural and economic development of the area.
Despite development in the 1970s and 1980s, the neighborhood has preserved its distinct 19th-century architecture. Today, NoHo is still a bustling commercial hub especially along Broadway and Lafayette, featuring many reknowned boutiques as well as the distinctive alternative Angelika Film Center. The efforts of the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and a number of other, local community and smaller preservation groups have combined to produce a beautiful and unified cityscape of architectural style, marble, limestone, and terracotta facades. An additional portion of the neighborhood was designated the NoHo East Historic District in 2003. All told, the landmarked buildings comprise a contiguous area somewhat in excess of 21 city blocks.
The area is also home to a number of local festivals, including the NoHo Annual Outdoor Pig Festival (a favorite of pork aficianados of all stripes) and the "Hear" NoHo Musical Festival. Notable restaurants in the area go from the high end sushi of Bond Street to the wonderful specialty cakes of Bijoux Doux, as well as eateries such as Butter and the Time Cafe. Nightlife pursuits can be found at clubs and bars like Mahanata 416 BC (also known as Bulgarian Bar) and theatres like the Jean Cocteau Repertory (famous for taking the classic works of the great playwrights of the past and bringing updated, modern versions to discerning, modern audiences -- keep an eye out, most productions feature a twist!).
Access to the neighborhood is provided by MTA bus and the nearby 6 train (green line subway) and, as always, taxi service is an option.