No doubt about it, Butch Karp and Marlene Ciampi’s New York City neighborhood, SoHo, reflects the relationship Robert Tanenbaum has created for them – vibrant and dicey. It suits Butch and Marlene to a tee.
Soho, which stands for South of Houston Street, is a perfect example of how neighborhoods change over time, as do the lives of Butch and Marlene throughout Tanenbaum’s series of legal thrillers.
Like most interesting New York people – and neighborhoods — SoHo has a colorful past. The area started out as an industrial zone over a century ago. The extraordinary buildings were cast-iron warehouses and the streets were cobblestone. The windows were ornate and looked like metal lace.
At the turn of the 20th century, SoHo went through hard times, became a slum, and was filled with sweat shops. It was dubbed “hell’s hundred acres.” After it was cleaned out by new labor laws, the illegal businesses took up residence elsewhere. Soho remained and crumbled in upon herself.
By the 1960s artists and others who loved the freedom, aging beauty, price and space of SoHo’s buildings began moving in. This is where we find Marlene, in the 70s, turning the top floor of their SoHo warehouse into a loft space…into their home. About every two months, at least, Butch Karp asks if she’d consider moving somewhere else. No. Marlene is standing firm in SoHo, even after they have three kids.
The next time you’re in New York City, head to SoHo. It’s trendy now. There are terrific restaurants and shops. The real estate prices are sky-high. And the largest neighborhood of cast-iron architecture in the world still makes up New York City’s SoHo district. It is beautiful.
Take a walk. Imagine Robert Tanenbaum’s Butch and Marlene, and the relationship that spices up every novel in this legal thriller series, living in their loft. Right there, on the top floor, just behind those curtains, you might hear the laughter of growing Lucy, their daughter, as she learns her 15th language!