Hudson Square

Hudson Square, like Nolita, is as much the creation of real estate branding as it is the actual rise of a new community. Bounded by the Hudson River (on the west), Morton Street (on the north), Canal Street (on the south) and Avenue of the Americas (... more

Hudson Square, like Nolita, is as much the creation of real estate branding as it is the actual rise of a new community. Bounded by the Hudson River (on the west), Morton Street (on the north), Canal Street (on the south) and Avenue of the Americas (on the east), Hudson Square is also known as West SoHo, the South Village, and occasionally, North Tribeca. However, the area is in fact unique enough to deserve its own moniker, which real estate folks have decided is Hudson Square. Historically populated by publishers and printers of yesteryear, this area rapidly gave way to an eclectic mix of ad agencies, architects, video and filmmakers, software developers, new media and communication firms and other such creative arts industries. Media giants such as Clear Channel, Viacom and Miramax all have office space here. Hudson Square also features some of downtown's hipper nightclubs no doubt a result of the area's increasingly young, creative workforce. Hudson Square is unique among neighborhoods in that a great deal of the land and buildings here are owned by one company, Trinity Real Estate, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Trinity Church. Indeed, historic Trinity Church, founded in 1... more

Hudson Square, like Nolita, is as much the creation of real estate branding as it is the actual rise of a new community. Bounded by the Hudson River (on the west), Morton Street (on the north), Canal Street (on the south) and Avenue of the Americas (on the east), Hudson Square is also known as West SoHo, the South Village, and occasionally, North Tribeca. However, the area is in fact unique enough to deserve its own moniker, which real estate folks have decided is Hudson Square.

Historically populated by publishers and printers of yesteryear, this area rapidly gave way to an eclectic mix of ad agencies, architects, video and filmmakers, software developers, new media and communication firms and other such creative arts industries. Media giants such as Clear Channel, Viacom and Miramax all have office space here. Hudson Square also features some of downtown's hipper nightclubs no doubt a result of the area's increasingly young, creative workforce.

Hudson Square is unique among neighborhoods in that a great deal of the land and buildings here are owned by one company, Trinity Real Estate, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Trinity Church. Indeed, historic Trinity Church, founded in 1697, has always been one of New York City's largest landlords. The relationship between Trinity Church and Hudson Square dates to the early 18th century, when Queen Anne of England ceded a large tract of land in lower Manhattan to the parish. As the owner, leasing agent and manager of approximately six million square feet in 23 buildings in the Hudson Square area, Trinity has played, and will continue to play, a leading role in developing downtown Manhattan. Meanwhile, the neighborhood actively opposes construction of the Sanitation Department's 12-story garbage truck garage and salt shed at the west end of Spring Street.

If you find yourself getting hungry while strolling this real estate mecca, stop for a quick bite at the Art Institute of New York which exists as part of the institute's culinary school. There's also Pao, which features mainland Portuguese fare and a dining room straight out a Lisbon-inspired film noir.

Given that Hudson Square is home to so much commercial real estate development, it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise that hotel options in the area are limited. The best option is the stylish Hotel Hugo, with the pricey Trump SoHo on the eastern boundary of the neighborhood for those who require expense as well as luxury. For the more budget-conscious, there's the Courtyard by Marriott and Four Points by Sheraton. Neighboring SoHo and Tribeca provide plenty of accommodations as well, such as the luxurious Greenwich Hotel (which also features a spa) and the trendy Tribeca Grand Hotel if you're looking to stay nearby.


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SoHo Description

Hudson Square is located in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. The historic SoHo neighborhood ("SOuth of Houston") is bounded by Houston Street to the north and Canal Street to the south. Originally known as the Cast Iron District due to the many buildings with such façades, SoHo's historic roots date to the mid-19th Century, when cast iron was discovered as an architectural material that was cheap, flexible, yet sturdy enough to use to build decorative building facades. Craftsmen transformed what had been rather bleak looking industrial buildings made of brick and mortar into structures of architectural splendor and grace. SoHo today still exhibits the greatest concentration of cast iron architecture in the world. SoHo's decorative facades, along with its ornate fire escapes, Corinthian columns, oversized windows, and beautiful lobbies, are the signature features of a neighborhood that first-time visitors often instantly fall in love with.

For the bulk of the 20th century, this neighborhood remained a relatively quiet and unassuming manufacturing district. The SoHo we know today emerged in the 1960's and 70's when artists discovered that the cheap factory spaces vacated by departing businesses could be converted into lofts and studios. The wide spaces and tall ceilings the factories had required were especially appealing to artists as they could create and store large pieces of artwork there. The New York Loft Board, charged with regulating and resolving issues regarding the legalization and use of certain loft buildings converted to residential use, assisted artists-in-residence in negotiating the complex legal issues.

After the SoHo Cast Iron Historic District became synonymous with the inflated art prices and lavish exhibits of the 1980s, more and more artists sought out other areas to work and reside, such as Long Island City, Williamsburg, and Chelsea. In turn, SoHo loft prices skyrocketed, and multimillion-dollar prices for full-floor lofts became rather common in the new millennium. Rents rapidly increased, and galleries moved north to the old garages of far-west Chelsea. In an ironic twist of fate, now galleries are leaving overpriced far-west Chelsea for the Lower East Side in the wake of the New Museum of Contemporary Art building its permanent home on the Bowery.

While western SoHo fortunately is largely protected from the current spate of building ugly large glass towers, Donald Trump's massive hotel on its westernmost fringes as well as forthcoming projects on the Bowery will permanently change the historic character of this fragile neighborhood. Architecture buffs will want to take our walking tour of the new architecture of Manhattan, which takes in a number of recent SoHo creations.

Now that SoHo has flourished and grown for over 35 years—ever since it gained credibility and status as a neighborhood when New York City officially recognized this up and coming district in 1973—visitors marvel not only at the architecture, but also at the vibrant cultural and commercial life on the neighborhood's historic streets. During the day, the sidewalks in this district are generally teeming with tourists, shoppers, and vendors selling t-shirts, jewelry, and original works of art. Shopping addicts know the area has some terrific vintage clothing stores that are true SoHo shopping experiences and bargains. Lower Broadway is home to everything from Bloomingdale’s to Calypso (whimsical, gorgeous clothing and furnishings) to Pearl River Mart (Asian housewares and gifts.) Many of SoHo's famous stores and boutiques are found on Prince and Spring streets, with Prada, Chanel, Kid Robot, and two relatively new additions, Jill Sander (at the corner of Crosby and Grove Streets), and an Apple Computer Store (in a former post office on Prince Street) all located in this vicinity.

In fact, there are so many cool boutique, vintage and consignment stores in SoHo to choose from. Add, a spacious accessories shop, caters to handbag connoisseurs who worship designer bags but would rather not drop thousands at a luxury boutique like Prada or Louis Vuitton. West Broadway, the Champs-Elysées of SoHo, also features an impressive list of boutiques across a broad spectrum of choices. Tag Heuer Boutique presents an impressive collection of Swiss luxury sports watches. Cleo & Patek, also on West Broadway, deserves mention for its fine accessories collection, and if men's fashion is what you're looking for you'll find high quality clothing at Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Reiss of London here, or just around the corner and down Spring Street, you can check out the latest J. Lindeberg collections.

Great restaurants are literally everywhere you turn in SoHo, and they are well-known for both the fine cuisine they serve and their stylish milieus. The French bistro Balthazar, and the authentic Raoul's for Italian fare are both highly recommended. Along West Broadway you'll find celebrity hotspot, Cipriani Downtown, and the inviting, often open-windowed façade and lively atmosphere at Felix. For Japanese cuisine two blocks over on Sullivan Street you can dine at Blue Ribbon Sushi.

Beloved for its neighborly old world beauty and charm, and its nearly skyscraperless skyline, SoHo has also become a favored choice for luxury hotel dwellers, especially among those who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of midtown Manhattan. The Mercer Hotel is SoHo's foremost luxury boutique hotel and the first of its kind to offer an authentic taste of loft living. At the lower end of West Broadway near Canal Street sits the noble SoHo Grand, a popular overnight choice for visiting celebrity clientele, and on the western side of SoHo lies SIXTY SOHo, a boutique hotel designed by famed interior designer, Thomas O'Brien.

Notable landmark architecture in the SoHo neighborhood, aside from the approximately 250 cast iron buildings (such as the E.V. Haughwout Building at 488 Broadway), include The Little Singer Building on Broadway, designed by Beaux-Arts trained New York architect Ernest Flagg in 1902; the six-story iron front building at 112 Prince Street designed in 1889 by Richard Berger; and lastly, New York's most peculiar subway map, an 87-foot long work of art consisting of concrete rods embedded in the sidewalk at 110 Greene Street which was created by Belgian artist, Francoise Schein, in 1986. You might also admire the five-story trompe l’oeil mural at 114 Prince Street, which is a longstanding two-dimensional cast iron façade—in paint.

If you want to stay in a historic neighborhood where great restaurants abound, where the stores are boutique chic, and hotels marvelously accommodating, SoHo is simply the place to be.

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