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 Broadway on the West.
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. Comprising of about125 buildings, the NoHo Historic District preserves the ornate storefronts and loft buildings designed by acclaimed architects in popular styles. These buildings were the elegant backdrops 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.
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 availability 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.
There are many eclectic restaurants (il Buco, Smile, and Chef Bobby Flay’s Gato), art galleries and boho-chic shopping outlets. In the 80’s NoHo began to develop its artistic vibes and the area is a hotspot for creatives in the art and fashion scenes. Residents enjoy live poetry readings at Bowery Poetry Club, classical theatre screenings at the distinctive alternative Angelika Film Center, or sublime shopping at Mimi’s, a fashion blogger’s vintage haven. Another historic Landmark in the neighborhood, Merchant’s House Museum, is the only nineteenth-century family home in New York City preserved intact — both inside and out. The Blue Man Group, known for their energetic and bold blue characters, combine live music, audience interactions, and comedy to create a multi-media sensory experience for both families and adults to enjoy.
Today, NoHo is still a bustling, mostly commercial hub, one that was preserved by New York City's 19th century commercial history is now preserved by the NoHo Historic District. There are talks that the De Blasio administration is working on a proposal to rezone SoHo and NoHo to replace a dated industrial law that restricts ground-floor retail and residential apartments. If this passes, NoHo could see an uptick in new development residential buildings throughout the neighborhood. The neighborhood currently consists of more co-ops and condos than rentals with beautiful and unified cityscape of architectural style, marble, limestone, and terracotta facades. There has been a string of recent boutique residential buildings, including the six-unit 22 Bond, that have filled longtime gaps in the streetscape while brightening once-dark hulks. The area has become a hub for High-end NYC living.
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.