Forefather to the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, Puck Magazine was America’s original satirical monthly, commenting on, and sometimes affecting, the outcomes of political elections throughout the last half of the 19th century. Its former headquarters anchor the northern end of Soho.
New York’s first theatre district began on the SoHo stage of Niblo’s Gardens with the production of America’s first musical. Opening on September 12th, 1866, “The Black Crook” featured 100 beautiful girls in tights and spectacular stage props. It ran for 475 performances, turned a million dollar profit on an initial investment of $50,000. American showbiz was on its way.
Across the street in 1866, you could have found P. T. Barnum and his Freaks: General Tom Thumb, the world’s most famous midget; Jumbo the Elephant; the Fiji-Mermaid (which Barnum made up by sewing the torso of a monkey to the tail of a large fish); and Chang and Eng from Siam, who gave birth to the term “Siamese Twins” — they were a randy pair, and sired over 20 children between them.
Just down Broadway was the store of the jeweler Charles Tiffany. The city’s swankiest row of bordellos ran right behind it on Mercer St.
Download our SoHo Walking Tour and get the hidden history: with audio narration, hundreds of photos, video clips, trivia quizzes, and local recommendations. Did you know that the beautiful cast-iron buildings of SoHo were actually built as industrial sweatshops? Did you know that a huge riot once took place in front of the fanciest hotel in the city? Or that political parties used to recruit future congressmen from among the toughest gangsters? We’ll introduce the artists and business titans, the politicians and mobsters, the entertainers and reformers, the landmark buildings and infamous crime scenes. Our New York Walking Tours put you on the spot and tell the story as never told before. It’s fully interactive and fully fun, and you can share all of our photos and stories on Facebook and Twitter. Go ahead. Get walking. Download Racontrs now to your Iphone or Android.