Sad Things

Startup Workers In Soho Run Smack Into the Neighborhood’s Past

Prince Street blocked off for FBI investigation.
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It’s no Flatiron, but these days Soho is a popular place to locate your startup. One building alone, 568 Broadway, is home to Thrillist, Foursquare, ZocDoc, and 10Gen. But it wasn’t so long ago that the neighborhood was an entirely different beast, and today offered a pretty bleak reminder as FBI investigators closed a stretch of Prince Street. They were digging for the body of first grader Etan Patz, who vanished 33 years ago and inspired a nationwide kidnapping panic. 

The New York Times spoke to several longtime residents, including 73-year-old Judy Reichler, who told them:

“It was back in the ’70s, and there was nothing in Soho, really,” Ms. Reichler said. “There was one little restaurant called Food. Otherwise, there was nothing there except artists and their families.”

Soho Alliance director Sean Sweeney insisted that “seedy” wasn’t quite the right description: “The docks were sleazy. It was gritty.”

New York tech folks including Thrillist founder Ben Lerer and Crowdtap Director of Marketing Ben Kessler stumbled onto the investigation:



We reached out to Mr. Lerer for more detail, and he told us that the news is more distracting than the actual disruption.

BuzzFeed executive editor Doree Shafrir biked past it:


KSBP social media strategist Sarah Faye Kauffman thought the upheaval seemed pretty well in line with the neighborhood character:


Of course, some people got a little confused as to the real tragedy here. Video game designer Dan Lazin reported:


Let’s be charitable and assume that was followed by a “just kidding” after Mr. Lazin was out of earshot.


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