Short for “down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass,” this Brooklyn neighborhood has seen a major renaissance and overhaul over the past few years. Nestled between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, DUMBO is marked by its cobblestone streets, warehouse buildings in the midst of condo conversion, and breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, framed by two of the most famous bridges in America. Another portion of DUMBO stretches from the Manhattan Bridge east to Vinegar Hill.
Throughout most of the nineteenth century, DUMBO’s western area was named after its ferry stop, Fulton Landing, until the Brooklyn Bridge was built to connect Brooklyn to Manhattan. At the time, it was an area devoted mainly to manufacturing that gradually became more residential, due to deindustrialization.
The neighborhood’s appeal began in the 1970s when it became known as an artist’s haven of deserted streets and cavernous loft spaces. Its many loft spaces continue to make it a haven for artists. A popular annual arts festival and the many performance spaces and pieces that take place on any given night throughout the neighborhood have also been attractive to artists. Some of these performances spaces and galleries include St. Ann’s Warehouse, the A.I.R. Gallery, the Dumbo Arts Center, the Museum of Modern Arthur, Spring, Schickler Howard Fine Art, the Galapagos Art Space, the powerHouse Arena, and the BAC Gallery. DUMBO is also home to Bargemusic, a docked coffee barge located at Fulton Landing that is now a floating classical music venue, and the Annual Art on the Bridge Festival.
In 2007, DUMBO was protected as an historic district—the 90th in New York City to achieve such an honor. Fulton Ferry, scene of George Washington's evacuation from The Battle of Brooklyn, now features a new pier with historical markers and is dubbed one of “the most romantic views” in the neighborhood. Old Fulton Street features the Eagle Warehouse and Storage Company of Brooklyn, a large beautiful brick structure completed in 1893 that is now a condominium.
On Water Street, the old Empire Stores building built in 1869 looks much like it did when it was at the hub of New York’s shipping business. To the west of DUMBO is the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Vinegar Hill. Today, the Brooklyn Navy Yard is being converted into a business park for the many companies requiring large open spaces. Also in the works are plans for a waterfront park to replace the unused docks along the East River.
DUMBO is also home to a number of culinary businesses and famous restaurants. These include Jacque Torres Chocolate, the River Café, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, Grimaldi’s, Dumbo General Store, Five Front, Superfine, and Pete’s Downtown Restaurant. Some of the more popular area bars are Rebar, Speak Low, Il Brigante, Low Bar, and Walter Street Restaurant & Lounge. Shopping includes Wonk, City Joinery, which features innovative, space-conscious furniture, and Blueberi. DUMBO also has a number of clubs, such as 81 Front Street Gallery, Halcyon, Manhattan Bridge Archway, the Dumbo Loft, and Toro.
Boasting one of the best children’s parks in the city, DUMBO has become known as a great place to raise a family. The neighborhood is easily accessible by the A, F, and C subway lines at Jay Street, where residents and the area’s rapidly growing digital industry workers can get into Manhattan. People can also take the ferry, run by the New York Water Taxi company. The B25, B67, B69, and B75 buses are also an option, as is simply walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, via its famous walkway.
Local schools include League Treatment Center and Daniel Hale Williams School (PS 307).
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