NYC Neighborhood Guide
Small in size but ritzy in reputation, SoHo’s industrial heritage has been transformed into loft living prized for high ceilings, large windows, and open floor plans. Fire escapes and Belgian block pavers add classic distinction cherished by downtown residents and Instagramming visitors.
Once called Hell’s Hundred Acres by the FDNY, SoHo now ranks among the city’s hottest real estate—in a good way. After industry moved out in the 1950s, artists seeking live-work lofts moved into these dilapidated factories in the ’60s. When real estate developers coined the streets south of Houston as SoHo, gentrification kicked off and ultimately kicked out most artists.
SoHo is not popular among families and lacks green space and schools. It swells with tourists shopping mall-standard retailers along Broadway. Luxury brands and boutiques are on side streets where cafes and eateries buzz with activity. A select few like Fanneli retain a gritty charm that predate SoHo’s luxurious transformation.
🎩 Exclusive and fashionable
😎 Spacious, light-filled lofts
🏗 Zoning changes in progress
🧱 Belgian block streets
🛍 Shopping galore
📸 Celebrity sightings
SoHo Real Estate and Trends
SoHo’s now coveted features weren’t designed for the high life. Built for textile manufacturing, the open floor plans and large windows let in sunlight for sweatshop workers before electricity was standard. The world’s largest concentration of cast iron architecture is now protected as a historic district. Strict regulations made new construction rare, which contributes to the small stock of housing and higher maintenance costs.
SoHo living is typically in 5- to 10-story buildings with large lofts and two- and three- bedroom units. Limited inventory and low vacancy rates push prices higher.
Historically, much of SoHo and NoHo was zoned as M1-5A and M1-5B manufacturing districts that permitted working artists to occupy these nonresidential buildings. This 50-year-old artist certification requirement has not been enforced and outdated zoning doesn’t meet the needs of this evolved area. In late 2020, the city began moving forward to “upzone” SoHo and NoHo to allow for taller buildings that must include affordable housing. Longtime residents are upset and developers are hungry. If rezoning is approved, developers will take advantage of building 2.4 times the size of current limits to erect luxury high rises with 3,200 units, 800 of which must be “affordable.” Look for updates to the city’s SoHo/NoHo neighborhood plan in 2021.
1 BD $1,400,000
2 BD $2,275,000
1 BD $3,000
2 BD $4,100
3 BD $6,000
4 BD $7,500
Average prices based on past transactions. Last updated: 2/18/21
Streets in southwestern SoHo were underwater after Hurricane Sandy and remain in a high-risk flood zone. Even more of the neighborhood is at moderate risk. Enter a building’s address to find out its flood risk. Also ask about flood mitigation measures in your building and the cost of flood insurance that may be required.
—Robin, Localize real estate advisor
Transportation in SoHo
SoHo has speedy transit options. Subway commutes to FiDi or Times Square take only 10 to 20 minutes.
Subway – Other than Prince St station (R/W), there isn’t service within SoHo; however, plenty of stations ring its border, especially on Houston St (Broadway-Lafayette St station B/D/FM), Bleecker St (6), Spring St (E), and Canal St (A/C/E/J/N/Q/R/W/Z/6). Getting to midtown or Brooklyn is easy via subway.
Bus – The M55 travels down Broadway and up 6 Av between midtown and South Ferry. The bus-only lane on traffic-clogged Broadway speeds the journey through SoHo. Catch the M21 along Houston St going between the West Village and Lower East Side.
Bike – Citi Bike has three stations along Lafayette St plus a few more sprinkled around SoHo. The protected lane on Grand St is a safe way to pedal east while a striped lane on Prince St goes west. SoHo’s Belgin block streets are charming, but not on a bicycle. Also beware of inattentive tourists stepping into bike lanes.
Best Schools in SoHo
SoHo doesn’t have any public schools—it was never planned to be residential. Not to worry though. The eastern third of SoHo is zoned for the excellent PS 130 Hernando De Soto (PK-5) in Little Italy and MS 131 in Chinatown. The rest of SoHo is zoned for the average MS 297 in the West Village. At least five public and charter high schools are within walking distance of SoHo. Be sure to read how enrollment is changing at NYC public schools.
Your Perfect Day: Things to Do in SoHo
🍩 Start the morning with a Cronut and Blossoming Hot Chocolate at Dominique Ansel Bakery, a fantasyland for any sweet tooth
🍔 Enter the frosted glass doors of Fanelli Cafe, a saloon that predates SoHo itself and can’t be beat for affordable eats in an authentic old New York setting
💸 Admire SoHo’s largest cast iron building at 488 Broadway, once a high-end home furnisher; Mary Todd Lincoln once overspent Congressional funds on a White House shopping spree here—see how far your credit limit goes while shopping along Broadway
🥂 Brunch with your besties at Balthazar, a vibrant French brasserie that’s been a SoHo staple since 1997; try “hangover drinks” like Champagne Pick-Me-Up and Oyster Mary
🗿 Peep the art at Eden Fine Art Gallery or Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, which specializes in LGBTQ artists and subjects
🛋 Furnish your loft with the trends of tomorrow at Matter, a contemporary American design gallery and showroom
📚 Buy (or write!) your next novel at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe & Bar; inventory is donated and profits fund advocacy and other services for homeless living with HIV/AIDS
📱 Replace your cracked screen or get a new iDevice inside a former post office at Apple SoHo, their first store in NYC
☕️ Sip afternoon tea or cocktails at Crosby Street Hotel Bar & Terrace, where a touch of London’s Soho meets Manhattan
Want to live in SoHo?