Soho stands for “South of Houston Street” and it is one of New York’s most glamorous shopping destinations. Many high-grade fashion labels have stores in the neighborhood, but also numerous independent fashion and shoe boutiques can be found there. Broadway, between Canal Street and Houston Street, is the busiest shopping strip in Soho, but the more exclusive boutiques are located in the beautiful small streets like Prince Street, Spring Street, Mercer Street or Green Street. The hip feel of Soho overflowed to the northern side of Houston Street; this small area, known for excellent shopping and dining, is now known as Noho.
Formerly Soho was an industrial zone. In the 1960s, the neighborhood was earmarked for destruction, but its cast-iron industrial buildings were saved by the many artists and freelancers who inhabited them. They moved into the neighborhood because many abandoned industrial buildings, which were in decay, could be purchased for a very cheap price, so they set up ateliers, studios and spacious lofts. That was the time when the artistic Soho was born. This era lasted until the 1980s. As loft living became fashionable and buildings were renovated for residential use, landlords were quick to recognize the potential for profits. As a consequence, prices for newly renovated lofts climbed up and those sky-high rents pushed those pioneers out, who were responsible for preserving the attractive district. Most of the galleries that made Soho an art hotspot in the 1970s and 1980s have moved to cheaper neighborhoods like Chelsea or Dumbo in Brooklyn.