10. There’s a petition to designate part of the neighborhood as “Little Paris”
A petition with nearly 1,000 signatures is going around with the goal of designating the area around Lafayette and Centre Streets as Little Paris. Started by Léa and Marianne Perret of Coucou French Classes, the push for an official Little Paris in New York is meant to acknowledge the large concentration of French businesses in the area. In the span of a few blocks, you can buy French pastries at Maman, sip natural wine at La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, shop for books and art at the lifestyle shop Clic, and take French lessons at Coucou French Classes.
The SoHo/Paris connection isn’t new, but a revival. In the late 1800s, this area was a thriving quartier français. Indeed, Lafayette Street is named for General Lafayette, who fought in the American Revolutionary War. The old Police Headquarters Building on Centre Street was modeled on Paris’s Hôtel de Ville. An 1879 issue of Scribner’s Monthly notes, “the people are nearly all French. French too is the language of the signs over the doors and in the windows.”