New York City’s TriBeCa and SoHo neighborhoods in downtown Manhattan are home to the largest concentration of cast iron facades in the world. Built in a short window of time from 1850-90 to support a thriving dry goods industry, these architectural gems offer an unrivaled perspective into early industrial New York, a time before skyscrapers, luxury retail and Starbucks Coffee shops on every corner. They are yours to discover.
What’s in this guidebook
- History. We discuss the origins of the SoHo and TriBeCa neighborhoods in the 19th century and why dry goods merchants chose to base their businesses in this part of the city.
- Cast iron technology. We explore why cast iron was the ideal choice for the facades of merchants’ “store and loft” buildings.
- Architectural styles. We profile the five prevailing styles of facades and their defining characteristics: Roman, Venetian, Sperm Candle, Second Empire and Neo-Grec. To make things come alive, we offer high-resolution images that reveal salient architectural and decorative features with color highlights.
- Walking tour of the highlights. Following our tradition of being the most valuable resource for culture-focused travelers, we offer a walking tour that showcases thirteen of the most impressive facades in SoHo and TriBeCa. For each, we reveal its most important architectural features and offer a discussion that ties it all together.
- Advice for getting the best cultural experience. To help you plan your visit, this guidebook supplies logistical advice, maps and links to online resources. Plus, we give our personal tips for getting the most from your experience while on location.
- Information the way you like it. As with all of our guides, this book is optimized for intuitive, quick navigation; information is organized into bullet points to make absorption easy; and images are marked up with text that explains important features.