The cast iron facades, high ceilings, and wide-open floor plans that made the neighborhood so desirable as a place for artists, and later well-heeled residents, are rooted in SoHo's industrial past. It was a neighborhood of factories and manufacturing. That era has passed, however, and after more than a century in business, John De Lorenzo and Bro., Iron and Sheet Metal Contractor closed their shop this week. It will be converted to a building housing luxury condos.
As SoHo transformed itself through the last third of the 20th century from an industrial zone to one of the priciest residential and retail neighborhoods in New York, the De Lorenzos changed with it. A good deal of their metal work business was done for artists or expensive residences and businesses nearby. As The New York Times points out though, Thomas De Lorenzo is selling his 30' x 100' building to a developer for more money than the shop has made in 101 years.
There's an interesting slide show of the work that is no longer done on Grand St. near West Broadway. Apartment Therapy listed De Lorenzo's as a hot tip to get furniture repaired two years ago. Good luck getting a spot weld in SoHo anytime soon.