SoHo/Nolita History & Culture
In the mid-1800s, many residents of today’s SoHo area — who had only moved there earlier in the century — started leaving. However, SoHo pivoted and endured, setting itself on a path of constant evolution into the beloved modern neighborhood. Cast-iron architecture began its rise while a theater district took hold, helping create one of the city’s central entertainment districts of the era. Around the same time, numerous manufacturing industries grew in SoHo, including lumber, glassware, and textiles. As that story tends to go, manufacturers left the city following World War II. With no clue what to do with anything left down in SoHo, the city hatched plans for an expressway in the area. But, thanks to the influence of preservationists plus civic and cultural leaders, those ideas were eventually dropped. Meanwhile, artists began living and working in massive, otherwise abandoned warehouses, charting the course for SoHo to thrive once again.