SoHo Walking Tour
SoHo is a compact neighborhood, perfect for just wandering about. Broadway and West Broadway are the main thoroughfares; Prince and Spring Streets hold an enormous array of shops. The intersections of Prince and Spring Streets with West Broadway are the heart of the district.
As you walk through the neighborhood, check out the architecture. SoHo’s cast-iron buildings remain its greatest treasure. Originally envisioned as a cheap way to imitate elaborate stone buildings, the cast-iron facades were prefabricated in a variety of styles—including Italian Renaissance, French Second Empire, and Classical Greek—and bolted onto iron-frame structures. An American invention, the cast-iron building was erected primarily in New York City, with SoHo boasting the largest collection.
Many of SoHo’s finest cast-iron gems can be found along Broadway. Foremost among them is the Italianate Haughwout Building (488 Broadway, at Broome St.). The magnificent edifice is five stories tall and nine bays wide on the Broadway side, and sports 92 windows all flanked by Corinthian columns. Built for a merchant who once provided china to the White House, the store was the first in the city to install a passenger elevator.
Farther north is the Singer Building (561 Broadway), designed by the innovative architect Ernest Flagg in 1904. It’s decked out with red terra-cotta panels, delicate wrought-iron detailing, and large plate-glass windows. Also be sure to note the maroon-and-white facade of 575 Broadway.
Farther south, below Grand Street, is the so-called “Queen of Greene Street,” (28 and 30 Greene St.), built in ornate Second Empire style.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition