My family goes back 4 generations in Soho. My Great Grandfather first started his textile company, followed by his sons. 62-64 Greene St. Housed the family business along with another building on Mercer St. One of our family’s business burned down and became a parking lot.
My Parents business moved to 10 Green St in the 1970’s. We started out at 276 Canal St, on top of Dave’s Corner. Another Textile Company owned the building at 10 Greene and occupied several floors. We occupied the third floor of the building. Our loading dock was busiest in the early morning hours when it was easiest to unload the huge trucks that carried our freight. Our beautiful Post Office “Canal St. Station” was just across the street. We had a PO Box there to get our mail and I loved running across everyday to pick up the mail in the beautiful vintage boxes with polished brass doors. Just across the street from our building was a parking lot. On the week ends our neighbor Joel, next door would run a flea market there. He and his wife lived at 8 Greene st. When the values rose, they sold the building and moved to Belize with their children.
I was 16 years old when Etan Patz disappeared after leaving his home on Prince St. It was a terrible dark day in the neighborhood and nobody felt safe for their children after that.
Our loft was a cold water flat and the laws had been changing to allow people to live and work in the lofts. My Parents always tried to help the artists who lived there and eventually the laws changed, bringing much needed services to the people who had long lived there illegally.
All the artists from the neighborhood came up to visit us. They would buy Muslim and Cheesecloth and other fabrics that they used in their artwork. My mother always enjoyed spending time with the artists and they would often stay for wine and snacks and talk for hours. We also serviced restaurants, like windows on the world in the World Trade Center and my dad and I would personally deliver their cheesecloth which they used in the kitchen. We loved to take the elevator to the top of the trade center and look at the views.
There was a news paper called the Village Voice that had a comic strip called Stan Macks Real Life Funnies. One time they featured my Mom as the rag lady with the big hair on the street. We hung the cartoon on the wall in our office and Mom was a celebrity for a minute.
As a kid I ran through the cobblestone streets, playing outside while my parents worked. Sometimes I would run real fast, especially if a rat was chasing me. I was the kid in blue overalls with a red bandana hanging out of my back pocket.
We loved to go to dinner on West Broadway and frequented all the local restaurants of the time. 468 West Broadway and the Spring St Bar was two of our favorites. We often would go to galleries for showings, when we were invited, we all loved art and were proud of the neighborhood galleries success. I liked to buy vintage clothes at Harriet Loves on West Broadway and our bread at the famous Vesuvio bakery on Prince St.
One day Hollywood came knocking on our door, literally. They were making the movie “ the eyes of Laura Mars” right on Greene St. they were going to use our loading dock in one of the scenes and they asked the workers to stand on the dock. Eddie and Uncle Al got in one of the scenes.
All the buildings got sold, our industry started moving to NJ for space and cost
Finally in 1979 Pope John Paul ll made his visit to New York City. I ran to the corner of Broadway and Canal and watched and waved as the Pope Mobile rode downtown. Amazing.
Soho has a special place in the history of my family. I will always think of it fondly and what a priviledge it was to grow up there.
This PHoto is my Mom, Me and My daughter, celebrating her first birthday in our loft with a birthday cake from China Town.