Soho Is the New Times Square

soho Soho Is the New Times Square

Unbearable? (armisteadbooker/Flickr)

It’s only a matter of time before the flashing signs and statue impersonators arrive. Soho is now so overrun with tourists, food carts, Mr. Softee trucks and promoters pushing everything from hair gel to dating websites that it is virtually uninhabitable, reports the New York Post, warning, “SoHo has become NoGo.”

Residents are so angered by the impossible crowds that violence is flaring up. Last Thursday, a middle-aged New Jersey man in flip-flops bumped into two women walking the opposite way. The enraged women punched him in the face, knocked him to the ground and started kicking him.

A few days later a YoGo seller, fed up with vendor tickets, parked illegally on the crosswalk and shoved his ipad camera in a resident’s face, ranting about harassment (you know you’re in Soho when…).

The food trucks and cheap handbag vendors are flooding the streets, parking anywhere and everywhere and making everyone miserable by giving the tourists too much of all the things they want, say residents, just like all the chain stores clogging the once-artsy streets now that the area is cursed with more popularity than it can handle.

To make everything more miserable, companies are using the already impassable streets to shill their merchandise—from a hot-pink Kate Spade bus polluting the sidewalk with its diesel fumes, blaring music and fashion models to Pantene’s glass-enclosed truck offering free blow-outs.

“It’s a horror. Everybody wants to make money down here, like we’re whores,” 78-year-old resident and filmmaker Camille Billops told the Post, apparently without irony.

Bob Gormley, the district manager of Community Board 2 says that he fears for people’s safety as they take to the streets to avoid the clamor of commercialism.

Maybe it’s time for a pedestrian plaza? Hey, it worked for Times Square.
kvelsey@observer.com