Elizabeth Shelley

Elizabeth Shelley
Thu, 12/05/2019 - 16:31
When did you live in SoHo?

early 1900's to 1980

Where did you live in SoHo?


My Grandparents, John and Rosaria Volpe, bought two buildings at 452 and 454 West Broadway. He had a machine shop at 454. From the early 1960's, we went every Sunday to their apartment. They raised six children in a one bedroom apartment! The streets were lined with cobblestone, and there were factories all up and down the block. We used to walk up to Washington Square Park, or go watch my Grandpa play bocce ball with his peers. It was exotic and fascinating! My Uncles sold the business and the business in the early 1980's. An era of our lives gone. I don't recognize the area any more, but will always keep the memories of being there alive in my heart.

What was your occupation when you lived in SoHo?

My Grandfather had a machine shop at 454 West Broadway.

What do you miss most about SoHo in the 1970s?


The cobblestone streets; playing on the stoop, and in Papa's shop.

What do you miss least about SoHo in the 1970s?

Being afraid outside! It was all factories, and we were told not to leave the area of the stoop and in front of Papa's shop.

If you no longer live in SoHo, why did you leave?

My grandparents passed in 1969 and 1973; my Uncle lived their until 1983, when the buildings were sold.

What is your most vivid SoHo memory?

My Grandparents' home, with the bathroom outside of the apartment! It had a pull chain water box above the toilet, which was fascinating.