TOUR // SoHo

Cast Iron SoHo – Judd Foundation – Children’s Museum of Art – Broken Kilometer – NY Earth Room – Thompson Street Pool – Floating Subway Map – Wall of SoHo – McNally Jackson Books



9:00 a.m.   We met at Starbucks Coffee in Spring Street where we distributed our tour guides, discussed the readings (briefly) and surprised the class with I ♥ NY magnets (which served more uses than a mere souvenir).  This Starbucks location was chosen not because of its familiar coffee or pasties but rather because it is a great example of how restaurants and stores try to preserve the neighborhood’s identity.

starbucksOnce there, we talked about the articles and about SoHo’s uniqueness and charm. Why there are no trees around the streets? And why are the buildings are made out of cast iron? To make the tour unforgettable, we gave them a tour gift: a scavenger hunt with the magnets took place. The rules were simple, differentiate the cast iron buildings from the fake ones by seeing if the magnet would stick. If it did, the building was cast iron, if it didn’t then it was just an impersonation.


10:00 a.m.   Our first visit of the day was the Judd Foundation, where before entering the building we noted the glass bricks on the sidewalk, the cast iron façade and factory’s iron marks: all trademarks of a real cast iron building.

Visit here for more information on our tour inside the Judd Foundation:


11:45 a.m.   After visiting the Judd Foundation, we grabbed a quick lunch at Ben’s Pizza on our way to the Children’s Museum of the Arts. Walking through Spring Street we could notice the absence of trees, the brown street signs (that marked that we were in a historic neighborhood), and the cast iron buildings.


1:00 p.m.    Our second stop was the Children’s Museum of Art. A non-profit organization which aspires to teach art, engage children from all communities throughout the city into the art making process, and collect and exhibit children’s pieces of art as well.

Visit here for more information on our tour inside the Children’s Museum of the Arts:


2:30 p.m.    At this point, half of our tour was completed and much of SoHo was yet to be discovered. Without any time to spare, we walked swiftly to visit the Walter de Maria exhibitions that close from 3:00-3:30. During the short walk we passed by the NYC Fire Museum and the Trump SoHo Hotel’s POPS (Publicly Owned Private space).

2:40 p.m.   In 393 West Broadway we contemplated Walter de Maria’s The Broken Kilometer. The art piece is made out of five rows of brass rods separated by five millimeters each.  This installation allows the viewer to compare the human and the earthly scale.  (

walter de maria 32:50 p.m.    The second Walter de Maria Installation we visited was The New York Earth Room in 141 Wooster St. The piece consist of a room full of earth and 50 centimeters of height. We were lucky enough to get a brief talk from the man who has been maintaining the installation for the last twenty five years. (

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3:15 p.m.     We continued the tour as planned and visited the Thompson Street Pool and discussed how NYC Public Parks work in the city, we also recalled Robert Moses’s urban and political ideas and their controversies.


3:30 p.m.    Walking to the next stop, we saw the Subway Map Floating on a sidewalk in Greene St. The piece was designed by Francoise Schein, and it represents the rights of human beings and metro trains.

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3.40 p.m.    The second to last stop was the Wall of SoHo. A street art installation by Forrest Myers made in 1973 when a building was demolished and the building’s architectural scars became apparent. The Wall became the “Gateway to SoHo” and an icon of the neighborhood. Close to this artwork where SoHo says Hi, we were ready to say Bye since our tour was getting to an end.  We took a photo of our I ♥ NY magnets in the cast iron façade of OMA’s Prada store.



4:00 p.m.    Our tour ended in the McNally Jackson Books: a great bookstore to look for good architecture books and have a good cup of coffee. Once there, we said goodbye to each other hoping that the tour was an enjoyable and instructive about SoHo and the Institutions’ organization. Of course, at the end we ordered a coffee.

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Assigned Readings to the class:

Children’s Museum

No Trees for Soho

Landmarking of a Wall Sculpture Hits Bricks-and-Mortar Opposition

Judd’s Studio: Public Invited

First SoHo, Now NoHo: Panel Designates a Historic District


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