Referred to as recently as the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s by the vaguely unattractive (yet loving) nickname "Hell's Hundred Acres,” SoHo, the New York neighborhood "South of Houston" Street, has developed into one of Manhattan's trendiest neighborhoods.
With its diverse and funky shops, its galleries, bars and bistros, SoHo has also been transformed into one of the city's top residential and tourist destinations, which, in turn, feeds the shops, galleries, bars and bistros...which, in turn, raises prices across the board.
Although the high cost of living has forced many of the down-and-out creative types to migrate north-west to Chelsea or south to Tribeca, SoHo does still have more than its fair share of cutting-edge artists and designers rubbing shoulders with über-hip storefronts and beautiful people.
It also has some great New York specialty shops, such as Dean & Deluca on the corner of Broadway and Prince Street, and is home to several new museums - including the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum for African Art, New York City’s Fire Museum, Children’s Museum of the Fine Arts, and Guggenheim SoHo. With much of its 19th-century architecture and cobblestone streets still intact, the entire neighborhood is the city's only landmarked district.
Some of SoHo’s most famous restaurants are Balthazar, Café Noir, Felix, Lucky Strike, and Mercer Kitchen. Some of the most exciting nightlife spots include Faneli Café, Ear Inn, and Grand Bar and Lounge at the SoHo Bar Hotel. Other forms of nighttime entertainment can be found at theatres such as SoHo Rep (dedicated to challenging, and at times, experimental works), SoHo Playhouse, and The Ohio Theater. Film Forum is an excellent place to view the best in independent cinema.
During the daytime, shoppers can peruse some fantastic stores, such as The Apple Store, which hosts weekly events that feature interviews and Q&As with various celebrities, authors, musicians, filmmakers, etc., CB2 (a new Crate & Barrel spin-off), Boffi SoHo (an exclusive, upscale kitchen accessories shop), Bond #9, a custom perfume store that has served such customers as Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood, and Grace Kelly, back in the day, Canal Hi-Fi, Duncan Quinn, Jack Spade, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and Nom de Guerre.
Every year, SoHo also hosts the SoHo International Film Festival.
For tourists looking for lodging in the area, SoHo offers such famous hotels as 60 Thompson, SoHo Grand, and The Mercer Hotel.
SoHo is serviced by the blue (A, C, E), yellow (N, R, W) and green (6) MTA subway lines. In addition, the red line (1, 2, 3) has a stop on both the North and the South borders of the neighborhood. Available bus routes are the M1, M6 and M20 uptown/downtown lines, as well as the crosstown M21.
To the south and west of SoHo lies Tribeca (which stands for the "Triangle-Below-Canal" Street). A largely undeveloped market area that was almost devoid of full-time residents just two decades ago, Tribeca has similarly been transformed into one of the hottest and hippest places to call Home in Manhattan.
As sky rocketing rents in SoHo forced artists to move south, Tribeca became the new epicenter of creative and culinary life Downtown. Tribeca today is not only home to the impossibly hip Nobu restaurant and Odeon (immortalized in--and little changed from--the Jay McInerney novel, “Bright Lights, Big City"), but also the Tribeca Film Center, Robert DeNiro himself, and his five year-old Tribeca Film Festival.
The area regularly offers unique and attractive housing options, as lofts previously used as warehouses convert into elegant residential condominiums. In the months and years following September 11, 2001, generous incentives have been provided to further encourage re-growth and development in Downtown in general, and Tribeca (and neighboring Battery Park City) in particular.
Besides the aforementioned Nobu and Odeon, other famous and much-loved Tribeca eateries include Bridge Café, Kori, Tribeca Grill, Bubby’s, Chanterelle, and Bouley. Meanwhile, Tribeca’s bustling nightlife is alive and well at places such as Arc, Church Lounge, and The Knitting Factory, a multi-level entertainment emporium that nightly features a wealth of live musical performances, and theatregoers have places such as Workhouse Theater and Access Theatre to choose from, for their theatrical pleasure.
TriBeCa, in addition to its famous film festival, also hosts a theater festival. The prime venue for this festival is the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts. Other local theaters and theater groups include the Flea Theater, Workhouse Theater, Access Theatre, and Collective Unconscious.
A number of art galleries also grace the neighborhood, such as K.S. Art and Art in General. Providing a comfortable stay, regardless of activity roster is the TriBeCa Grand Hotel.
Elementary school students in TriBeCa are zoned into PS234, located at the corner of Chambers and Greenwich Streets. Stuyvesant High School, which specializes as a Science High School, is also located in the neighborhood. New York Law School, St. John's University and Borough of Manhattan Community College round out the neighborhood's offerings in terms of institutions of higher learning.
Entrances and exits to the Holland Tunnel, which connects New York to New Jersey, are located in TriBeCa's northwest corner, near the intersection of Canal and Varick Streets.