Soho’s Carnaby Street
Intrigued to understand better its ongoing allure, I interrogated Sophie, 28, who has worked in
This combination of flamboyant residents and daytime dwellers encourages new and exciting ventures to open up on a daily basis. ‘If are a restaurant junkie like me, you’re home and dry in
Other than the red light district, the area is known for its strong musical roots, home to the media industry and its gay scene. Old
Ain’t nothing but blues in Soho, London
Once the hub of the Swinging Sixties scene,
Attempting to wheedle some local secrets out of Sophie I am told ‘
It’s not hard to be sold on
SoHo, New York
The SoHo neighborhood, known today as a major shopping and dining destination, has undergone several transformations during a century’s worth of growth and activity – the fast-paced, sometimes frantic sort that Manhattan has become famous for.
Initially this area (South of Houston Street – and by the way, that’s pronounced “How-ston,” not “Hew-ston” like the city in Texas), was the city’s home of the textile, dry goods, and manufacturing industries, but over time its cobblestone streets and hulking warehouses went vacant, leaving low-priced openings for New York’s art scene in the 1970s and ‘80s. Then home to galleries, studios, and personal abodes, many of the lofts so iconic to SoHo have now become boutiques, showrooms, shops, and even chain stores like Old Navy, H&M, Topshop, and J. Crew.
Fortunately, not all of these spacious spots have been gobbled up by retail and food businesses: Elizabeth Valleau – proprietress of fancy condiment enterprise Empire Mayonnaise, a creative director at R/GA, and menswear writer for Esquire and other publications – has lived in the heart of SoHo for the past three years with her husband Benjamin Palmer, CEO of Barbarian Group. “I also lived here fresh out of college before moving to Brooklyn for a few years. I like being back!” she says. I sought out Elizabeth’s insider insights to find out what this area so heavily trafficked, sought after by shoppers and realtors both, is really like.
“It’s quite a convenient location,” says Elizabeth. “We work and play downtown primarily, and SoHo is an active, youthful area right in the middle of everything. It’s a picturesque walk to the West and East Villages, Chelsea, and the Lower East Side – not to mention a great bike ride away from Williamsburg,” she adds.
When I ask about navigating the crowds of tourists and punters, of course she knows exactly what I mean: “We’re right in the thick of it. On weekends it can be oppressive, and you just have to make a mad dash to get off Broadway.” But she recommends visiting the neighbourhood at night during the week, when “the streets can be spookily empty and it’s actually very nice,” she explains.
Preferring the smaller-scale shops that her hood has to offer, Elizabeth has a few favorite pieces she’s found nearby at spots she’s willing to share. “My vintage Schiaparelli wedding dress came from What Goes Around Comes Around” she divulges.
“I’ve also found an iron anchor necklace from Melet Mercantile, custom riding boots for my longer-than-average legs from E. Vogel Custom Boots & Shoes and unbelievably luxurious unmentionables from Jean Yu.”
And for those wishing to explore SoHo on two wheels instead of two feet, Bicycle Habitat – where Elizabeth purchased her “beautiful Princess Pashley bike” – rents bikes for $50 per day.
Though many of the nightlife spots in SoHo can tend toward the “see and be seen” scene, with heightened self-awareness and prices to match, Elizabeth has had plenty of time to uncover the hidden gems for locals like herself. “Ñ
This is a guest post by Sophie Stewart (Soho) and Meredith Modzelewski (SoHo)Google+