Soho and Noho are an architectural time capsule of ornate, cast iron buildings from the golden age of manufacturing in New York City. Innovative at the time, intricate cast iron facades on loft buildings offered an alternative to carved stone for the decorative elements, and are iconic of this landmarked area. Soho and Noho’s historic districts boasts the world’s largest collection of such cast iron buildings, most from the late 19th Century, when they served as warehouses and textile factories. In the 1960s, artists began converting spaces into live-work studios and apartments. The Artist-in-Residence or A.I.R. occupancy designation is still on the books, which allows for artists to live in their working studio factory lofts. Soho was the epicenter of the Art world from the 1960’s to 1980s; much as west Chelsea is today. Today, high-end retail and restaurants occupy the ground floors in what has become one of Manhattan’s most upscale neighborhoods. Soho is located on the South Side of Houston Street, north of Canal, between Sixth Avenue, and Broadway. I began my real estate career in Corcoran’s Soho office nearly two decades ago and still love the authenticity of America’s first loft neighborhood.
Nolita’s evolution was on a distinctly different path, with the once predominantly Italian residents selling their choicely located, but less architecturally splendid, tenement homes, to those priced out of Soho. Nolita comprises the 16 blocks west of Soho to the Bowery. The new acronym for “North of Little Italy”, NOLITA became vernacular in the 1990s to reflect the upscale turn that the neighborhood had taken. A stroll through the neighborhood is delightful with fashionable boutiques and trendy eateries side by side with long established old school Italian restaurants. The International Center of Photography is in notably located here.