See

Emerging from the train station, I stepped out into a new world. The streets were filled with a vibrant energy as stylish shoppers moved among the hustle and bustle, past the vendors , balancing on the curb like a tight rope walk expertly squeezing behind the various arts & crafts tables , avoiding the hectic swerving of cars and trucks in the street.

Slowly walking in awe , I approached every table only to find a new and unique offering ; records, copies of movie scripts , jewelry , African inspired prints, sculptures and clothes. As I stepped inside the small boutique stores my amazement only intensified. Greeted by sales associates that were dressed with such style and grace I wondered if they shopped in their stores more than they sold. The mannequins stood tall , bodies contorted into poses that Chanel Iman would envy.

At 17 years old that was my introduction to Soho. Now 5 years later at 23 years old , I find myself a tourist in my own city, lost in Soho again. Only this time they are for very different reasons. Big name stores like H&M, Zara,Top Shop, Hollister and Victoria Secrets have moved in.

While I like these stores and shop at most , I am saddened because gone are the small boutique stores that made every shopping trip a discovery. Nothing is more frustrating than walking down W. Broadway and seeing someone with the exact same scarf, hat , shirt and accessories. With the boutique stores many shirts and designs were one of ones and dead stock items. This made each purchase special as you knew that not only did you have to buy it then or fear never seeing it again but the likely hood that someone else would have it was little to none.

While Soho will always have a special place in my heart and still remains as one of my favorite destinations, I can’t help but feel that nowadays Soho is just so-so.

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How Soho become So So

by Kwame Belle

The Voice

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