Tuesday, June 28, 2011

SoHo? What's That?

Yesterday, I had absolutely no clue what SoHo was until I saw on my R.A.’s sign out sheet that two friends on my floor had left for SoHo some 4 hours ago and had not returned. This sparked my interest to find out what SoHo really was, and what it had that could draw students away for 4 hours on the first night in New York City.

After doing some online research, I found that SoHo stands for South of Houston Street and is primarily a shopping and dining neighborhood. Originally, SoHo was known as the cast iron district because it was one of the first areas of the Big Apple to have buildings made of cast iron instead of bricks and motor. It was a relatively cheap manufacturing neighborhood which began to attract artists because of affordable space for studios and galleries. However, the artists didn’t stay for long and were forced to vacate due to high rent and SoHo became the residential area bustling with tourists looking for good food and souvenirs that we know today.

When Milani told our group at dinner yesterday that she would like to get some souvenirs, I immediately remembered what I had just researched and told our cohort what I knew. After asking for directions from R.A.s, we decided that Milani, Beilul, Irene, Masao, and I would travel via subway to SoHo tonight after dinner. The trip down to SoHo was awesome in itself because it was like an adventure. With nothing but scribbled down directions, we walked to the 116th street subway stations prepared to board for the first time without Mrs. L. After a transfer at Times Square and 45 minutes, we arrived at SoHo which I must say, fell short of expectations.

As we window shopped, I was surprised to find that most of the stores were brand names, not the small tourist venues that I had expected. It wasn’t until we had arrived at the edge of SoHo did we find a store that had the “I Love New York” t-shirts we wanted, but even then they cost more than we were willing to pay. Thankfully, Milani’s R.A. provided an alternate solution should we not find what we were looking for. She told us to go to Chinatown, which was adjacent to SoHo. Almost immediately we found what we wanted and quickly paid. I wished we had more time to stroll through Chinatown, but we had to head back because we had Supreme Court opinions to be read, and for the Presidential Powers group, an outline to be made for a 20 page research paper.

While I may have wished to do more, I enjoyed our first excursion out of Columbia.

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