The proverbial poster child for “location, location, location.” But, then again, we don’t need any kind of signage because this street has paved its own way. In more ways than one, West Broadway Street in Soho, Manhattan, signals a sort of revolutionary cultural arrival. It stretches the imagination of the potential one path can hold.
Wow, that’s deep – it’s only a street. Maybe, but it has seen many come and go with a curious historic ability to adapt, from a lively West Broadway restaurant scene or Soho’s reputation as a torchbearer for the New York art and design scene to residential laws. Let’s walk this road and see.
Where It Started: When Two Become One
West Broadway Street goes back – way back. A central pathway to opportunity and aspiration, it used to be two streets: Chapel Street below Canal Street, and Laurens Street above it. This transcendent thoroughfare connects Soho (South of Houston Street) and Tribeca (Triangle Below Canal Street), and not just literally. So, let’s cue the slideshow.
For generations, the name has bemused many. Is it because it happens to be west of Broadway? Unsurprisingly, yes. Part of New York’s industrial and manufacturing past, this link from the World Trade Center to Washington Square depicts a diverse city’s development from a country lane in early 17th century Manhattan to some seriously high-end condo conversions and a buzzing Broadway restaurant life today. West Broadway Street is Soho embodied.
Culturally Tuned In
Here and happening – from the Deitch Art Gallery to the handfuls of cultural authority so freely given to the area by the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Bowie, Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and then some more.
Lest we forget the irrefutable reputation of Soho’s design and fashion scene. There’s a reason Cindy Crawford and Alek Wek hung out here. The home of experimental and avant-garde fashion, a synergy between art, design, and fashion – a way of life in this space.
The Soho Artists' Loft Law (1971)
Little Ways – a restaurant and supper club in Soho cut from the same cloth as The Flower Shop – is the picture of everything this street’s socio-cultural history signifies. The loft aesthetic runs deep. The area’s transformation into an artists’ sanctuary gave birth to the Artist-in-Residence Law, passed in 1971, which legalized the residential use of commercial spaces in Soho, ensuring that artists could continue to live and work in their lofts.
Today, this has carved a path for an even bigger, more diverse group of alternative-type seekers lured in by Soho’s socio-cultural grip.
Never More Alive
Determined to honor its past, Soho is still as relevant as ever. Its cast-iron facades point to a rich, layered history that sets this neighborhood apart from Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or even our own Madison Avenue. The innovative culinary scene is but one example. As one would expect, it tells a familiar tale of a cultural manifold of potential. Beaming with artisanal food and trendsetting taste, this story kind of writes itself, with Broadway restaurants continuously proving themselves on a national and international food stage.
From one art gallery setting to another and a trip to the historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral, sightseeing can effortlessly turn into a lively, enigmatic night out in Soho, from stylish bars and restaurants to vibrant clubs. It’s difficult to imagine that it can all possibly exist on the same road, but that’s what West Broadway Street is all about.
Little Ways in Soho, Manhattan, a two-story townhouse turned quintessential West Broadway restaurant and bar, offers just a little bit of everything-Soho on a plate – your connection to a place, a way of life, another reason to link up with friends – old and new – in this go-to neighborhood spot.