Story of a Traditional SoHo Loft

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Instead, she signed a two-year lease on a large Tudor-style home in Rego Park, Queens. "It's very close to where I grew up," she said. "I think I'm going back to my beginning."

Her roommate, Mr. Arnaud, is moving to Rego Park with her and has spent the last month hauling furniture and boxes there to set Mrs. Sampson's move-out date in late August. "We all tried to persuade them to get a two-bedroom apartment nearby," he said. “But she wanted to remember the past. Your whole loft is there now. "

He wasn't sure if Rego Park was a good idea, but apart from a few friends, she no longer had a community in SoHo either. "Those days are over," he said.

"Most of the things I like are gone," said Ms. Sampson. Dean & DeLuca closed last year and many of the craft shops that followed in the course of the galleries have long since disappeared: the jewelry stores Norma Kamali and their famous sleeping-bag coats, all the little cafes and restaurants. "It's become very general," she said. Aside from the Porto Rico Importing Company, an old neighborhood where she buys coffee, Morton Williams is the only other place Ms. Sampson goes shopping.

"When someone like Linda leaves SoHo, it loses one of the sparks of light and history," said her friend, Ms. Albert. "But then the neighborhood isn't what it was. All of the people in the arts who had a skill and a talent and a dream, coming and interacting, that's what made it so special and alive.

"Linda and her loft are a thing of the past," she continued. "Another piece of the past that is evolving."

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