Before it was the art, shopping, and loft-apartment district it is today, Soho was largely industrial and commercial, filled with the cast-iron architecture of the city’s Victorian era. By the 1960s and ’70s, it had become rundown, and the stage was set for artists to move in and establish studios in its distinctive buildings. Galleries and boutiques followed, and finally big-box stores along Broadway, attracting droves of shoppers.
Now few artist’s lofts remain, but there are dozens upon dozens of restaurants, many of them excellent, and some surprisingly inexpensive. Though the borders of the neighborhood are fuzzy, for the purposes of this map it extends between Lafayette Street and Sixth Avenue on the east and west, and Houston and Canal streets on the north and south.