SoHo, an acronym for South of Houston Street, is the chic district bordered by Houston Street on its north, Canal Street on its south, Broadway on the east, and the Hudson River on the west. SoHo New York conjures glamour, youth, luxury, shopping, and enterprise, all in one short name.

Before the downtown Manhattan neighborhood became an art and shopping mecca, SoHo history reveals the area started as a residential neighborhood. During the 1800s, it transformed into a commercial center that housed such institutions as Lord & Taylor and Tiffany & Co, boasting the neighborhood’s now famous cast-iron warehouse buildings and romantic cobblestone streets. By the time the 1930s arrived with a plan to run the Lower Manhattan Expressway through it, SoHo had become run-down and near-deserted.

Before many more years had passed, however, New York’s artists sought a refuge from the routine of uptown. In the sprawling SoHo loft spaces of the late ‘60s, artists as diverse as Chuck Close, Frank Stella, and Richard Serra started vital bohemian art movements—and subsequently revived the neighborhood. Like it still does today, art poured through the SoHo streets. Buyers, trendsetters, and intellectuals again flocked to the once-forgotten neighborhood. And where artists go, fashion follows.

Soho Grand Hotel History

In the 1990s, the neighborhood became a glamour capital replete with chic New York shopping, downtown New York restaurants, spas, and art galleries. Today Cipriani, Prada, Chanel, Yohji Yamamoto, Bloomingdales’s SoHo, and Apple’s flagship store are among the many that fill the storefronts along Mercer Street, Greene Street, Spring Street, Prince Street, and West Broadway. SoHo has become one of the most exclusive and sought-after areas in New York City, and the Soho Grand was the first hotel to bring a New York boutique hotel experience to the neighborhood.