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Soho - Manhattan

The first obvious upshot to SoHo is that it's close to everything. It's close to the most convenient subway lines, as well as the Financial District, Greenwich Village, Little Italy and Chinatown. SoHo is also home to a couple of the top modeling agencies, namely the Hunt and Ford agencies. You just might run into Kate Moss on your way to get the morning paper. Something else SoHo has a lot of that many of the other neighborhoods don't have is successful working actors; no other kind could afford to live in this swank successful artist hood.

In the early 1970s, artists pushed to have abandoned warehouses converted into lofts-ideal for painting and sculpting with tons of open space both upward and outward, and lots of natural light. The story goes that this is when SoHo (which is short for South of Houston) was "discovered" and those artists started moving in. But, as with all true artists-based neighborhoods, these original artists have long since been forced out thanks to wealthier residents and the no-longer-struggling artists.

Much like other quaint, trendy New York neighborhoods, SoHo has become more commercial over the years, the upside is, it's by swanky, high-end stores like Prada, L'Occitane, and Anya Hindemarch. Of course, the neighborhood still holds its charm with plenty of unique boutiques along the way. SoHo claims to be one of the very safest neighborhoods in all of New York.

While you're here checking things out, do something most New Yorkers are either too busy to do or too afraid of looking like a tourist to do: stop and look up at the intricate patterns on some of these old cast-iron buildings--they come from James Bogardus around 1850 and are supported by interior columns. Translation: No more thick walls and huge, open spaces, some as big as 4,000 square feet, many with those gorgeous arched windows.

Since you're not the first to notice how beautiful and charming SoHo is, in true New York style it's extremely difficult to find an available space to live. But another concern of living here is the added pain of its guarded residents being so picky about one another's noise level.

If you're looking for the SoHo must, it's Dean & Delucca at 560 Broadway. Don't ask, just go. The Museum of African Art is also here and tons of galleries, so if that's your schtick you'll never get bored.

SoHo's biggest drawback? Your neighborhood will inevitably be packed with tourists and out-of-neighborhooders on the weekends. Locals cringe; everyone else gawks, spends money and tries to look like they belong.

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