SoHo is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan. Originally associated with the arts, it has since become famous for both destination shopping and its downtown scene. The name is a blend of "South" and "Houston" from "south of Houston Street." Its name is the model for other new neighborhood acronyms in New York City, such as NoHo, for North of Houston Street, TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal Street), Nolita (North of Little Italy), and DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). It is an archetypal example of inner-city regeneration and gentrification, encompassing socio-economic, cultural, political and architectural developments. Before its incarnation as a trendy locale, it was known as the Cast Iron District because of the many buildings incorporating cast iron architectural elements.
It is bounded roughly by Houston Street on the north, Lafayette Street on the east, Canal Street on the south, and 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) on the west.
It should be noted that Encyclopedia Britannica's 1956 article on “New York (City)” states that the southern border of Greenwich Village is Spring Street. If Britannica was correct in 1956, then SoHo has subsumed two blocks of the South Village’s traditional borders if 6th Avenue (aka Avenue of the Americas) is taken as the western border of Soho. But since cast iron buildings stop at West Broadway there is ample evidence to suggest that SoHo's borders are those described in the paragraph below.
Based on maps provided by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Department of City Planning, SoHo's borders are most accurately drawn at Houston Street to the north and Canal Street to the south, Crosby Street to the east and West Broadway to the west, since the SoHo Cast-Iron Historic District as well as SoHo's unique M1-5a/5b zoning delineate these boundaries. The Landmarks Preservation Commission is currently considering a proposal by the Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society to expand the SoHo Historic District to include the east side of Crosby Street and the west side of West Broadway (NY Times, May 11, 2008). More...