I had not been to New York for years and I was overjoyed to be spending the three day Presidents day weekend in New York, one of my favorite cities. The weather gods have been good to us this winter. Temperatures have been mild, snow and rain minimal, weather wise there really has not been a lot to complain about. Therefore, it was bad luck that the weekend we decided to go to New York was the coldest weekend of the winter season. Temperatures were well below freezing, making it impossible to spend any length of time outside.
The first two days were spent doing indoor activities like visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Modern of Museum of Art (MOMA) – very educational and warm. On the last day of our visit the temperatures rose a little so that I could enjoy one of my favorite activities in New York and that is strolling in Soho. This downtown neighborhood is one of my favorite areas of New York. Even though it is massively touristy now with every designer store and selfy clicking millenial in every street corner, I think the neighborhood is quaint and pretty. I love the cobblestone streets and the brick buildings with their tall french windows, colored bricks and wrought iron staircases clinging to the outside.
Broadway is the main vain of Soho and west of Broadway is the upscale designer shops, the iconic Balthazar restaurant and international trendy boutiques such as APC, Agnes B and Isabel Marant. Shopping is not a necessity to enjoy oneself in this part of Manhattan, grabbing a coffee or an ice-cream and just strolling and window shopping is fun. Lofts sell here for millions of dollars and one needs deep pockets to live in this neighborhood but for me the bohemian atmosphere of the Soho from the 1980’s when artist rented the lofts for work and gallery space still persists.
To the east of Broadway is the quieter more eclectic part of the neighborhood with smaller stores, vintage shops, little bakeries, bars and pubs. Make no mistake prices are not necessarily cheaper in this part of Soho but there are more privately run businesses and not chain stores.
I like to say I am a neighborhood person, when I travel to a city I am all about finding one or two neighborhoods to make my own. When I owned a boutique I travelled to New York twice a year and I would stay in hotels in Soho. Over the years I became familiar with this area of lower Manhattan. I know which streets were of interest to me and which streets had nothing for me also I became a regular in certain restaurants and coffee shops. Big cities become manageable if a part of the city becomes your neighborhood, it starts to feel like home.
If you are ever in New York I hope you check out this downtown area I am sure you will love strolling in Soho as much as I do.