Dumbo, an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It encompasses two sections: one located between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, which connect Brooklyn to Manhattan across the East River, and another that continues east from the Manhattan Bridge to the Vinegar Hill area. The neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 2.
In the 1890s, the western portion of the neighborhood was known as Fulton Landing, after the ferry stop that connected it to Manhattan before the Brooklyn Bridge opened. Then, it was primarily a manufacturing district, housing warehouses and factories that made machinery, paper boxes and Brillo soap pads. The area also had variously been known as Rapailie, Olympia, Gairville, or Walentasville.
With deindustrialization it began becoming primarily residential, when artists and other young homesteaders seeking relatively large and inexpensive loft apartment spaces for studios and homes began moving there in the late 1970s. The acronym Dumbo arose in 1978, when new residents coined it in the belief such an unattractive name would help deter developers. Near the end of the 20th century, as property became more and more expensive in Manhattan, Dumbo became increasingly gentrified. Joy Glidden is the Founding Director of the Dumbo Arts Center (DAC) and co-founder of the Dumbo Art Under the Bridge Festival, where she served as the Executive Director from 1997-2006. Using art as a catalyst for change, Glidden’s efforts achieved successful development in Dumbo that is now a model for similar waterfront developments around the world.
On December 18, 2007, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to designate the Dumbo section of Brooklyn as the city's 90th historic district. The Dumbo historic district consists of properties bound by John Street to the north, York Street to the south, Main Street to the west, and Bridge Street to the east.
Points of interest
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The area has emerged as one of New York City's premier arts districts, with a cluster of for-profit art galleries such as the Klompching Gallery and such not-for-profit institutions as the St. Ann's Warehouse and the A.I.R. Gallery. Chef Jacques Torres opened a chocolate factory in Dumbo in December 2000. Other culinary businesses in the area include Grimaldi's, the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, and the The River Café. All of these businesses cluster in Fulton Landing, which is also home to Bargemusic, a floating venue for classical music. The first public space in the neighborhood was Fulton Ferry, followed by Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park. Brooklyn Bridge Park, a joint state/city venture presently under development, was launched in 2006.
Dumbo has New York City's highest concentration of technology firms by neighborhood. Dumbo is home to 25 percent of New York City-based tech firms. Within a 10-block radius are 500 tech and creative firms that employ over 10,000 people.
The city of New York, in conjunction with New York University, has located an incubator in Dumbo to support development of tech start-ups. Dumbo's average office rent of $25 per square foot makes it more attractive to start-ups than Manhattan, where rents average $40 per square foot in 2013.
NY Waterway runs a water ferry from the Fulton Slip at Fulton Landing. New York City Subway stations are located at York Street (F train) on the IND Sixth Avenue Line, and High Street (A C trains) on the IND Eighth Avenue Line. Bus service is provided by the B25, B67, and B69. A convenient staircase connects the Brooklyn Bridge walkway to Washington Street, one of Dumbo's main streets. The East River Ferry began operations in July 2011, connecting the wharf at Fulton Landing to stops in Governor's Island, Wall Street, Williamsburg, Greenpoint and midtown Manhattan at E. 34th Street. On weekdays a free bus picks up passengers at E. 34th for more convenient locations in midtown.
In popular culture
- Jerry Seinfeld referred to Dumbo on a late-night talk show appearance, joking that it stands for "Down Under Manhattan Bridge", but that New Yorkers arbitrarily added the "O" at the end because they did not want to live in a neighborhood called "Dumb".
- Tracy Bonham wrote a song about her years in Dumbo on her CD Blink the Brightest, "Dumbo Sun".
- The neighborhood is parodied in Grand Theft Auto IV as BOABO ("Beneath the Off-ramp of the Algonquin Bridge Overpass").
- Featured as a filming location in Stanley Kubrick's second motion picture, Killer's Kiss (1955).
- Featured as a filming location in Big Bang's music video, Blue (2012).
- Featured as the residence of the Humphrey family on the television series Gossip Girl. The view from Washington Street appears very often to inform the viewer of the scenario change from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
- Nacrene City in the Pokémon Black and White games is based on Dumbo.
- The District appears on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit as a site of a runaway girl and a rave in season two.
- Featured as a filming location in the movie Vanilla Sky (2001), being the location of Sofia Serrano's apartment.
- Dolkart, Andrew S. et al. DUMBO Historic District Designation Report, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (December 18, 2007)
- Barnard, Anne (December 25, 2007). "Dumbo Journal: District Trying to Forge a New Identity". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- "About Dumbo". Dumbo NYC, Brooklyn. DumboNYC.com. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
- Graham, Jefferson. (2013, May 7). It's hip to be tech in Brooklyn's Dumbo. USA TODAY, p 5B.
- "Landmarks Preservation Commission Designates Dumbo as New York City's 90th Historic District" (PDF) (Press release). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. December 18, 2007. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- Moore, Peter (February 18, 2004). "'Mr Chocolate' blazed a sweet trail for retailers - Jacques Torres Chocolates". Real Estate Weekly. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- The Editors (April 17, 2013). "Welcome to the Gilded City of New York". The Nation. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
- Discovering Dumbo Slideshow New York Times, October 29, 2007
- New York magazine (March 10, 2003): "Neighborhood Profile: Dumbo"
- Paint a Parking Lot, Put Up a Paradise, a short documentary on the neighborhood's urban rehabilitation in 2007.
- October 10, 1997 New York Times Article by P. Marks about Dumbo artists (accessed Nov. 12, 2010)
- Dumbo Art Under the Bridge Festival