Nearby: Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn
DUMBO, is an acronym for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass". 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. It is bound from Old Fulton Street in the south to the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the north, from Nassau Street and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway on the east, to the Brooklyn Bridge on the west.
Until the 1890’s, 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. At this time, Brooklynite Robert Gair was a printer and paper bag maker. He invented the paperboard folding carton founding his paper empire. Robert Gair discovered this ideal location with access to shipping just north of the new Brooklyn Bridge and occupied several buildings in the area, many of which still bear his name.
The neighborhood was primarily a manufacturing district, housing warehouses, dock storehouses and factories that made machinery, paper boxes, Brillo soap pads, coffee, paint, varnish, shoes, soap and ale. Brooklyn was the fourth largest manufacturing center in the entire country and a significant portion of this manufacturing was done in DUMBO.
With its exposed Belgian block streets anchored by massive bridge structures, DUMBO has a unique character all its own. This bustling industrial neighborhood has emerged into a vibrant mix of 19th-century warehouses that have been converted into luxury loft condominiums and old factories and warehouses that have been converted into art galleries and theaters.
The area’s industrial buildings were recognized by inclusion on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in September of 2000 and 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.
Industry vanished and in the 1970's artists and homesteaders seeking large and inexpensive loft spaces for live/work moved in. Since the 1970's it has been a haven for creative types looking for the only thing equal to inspiration in New York – space. Near the end of the 20th century, as property became more and more expensive in Manhattan, DUMBO became increasingly gentrified.
Like all great neighborhoods pioneered by artists, this one has also caught the eye of huge retailers and developers. DUMBO is home to the famous pizzeria Grimaldi's (accessible by land and sea), Jacques Torres chocolate shop, St. Ann's Warehouse (which hosts inovative theatrical performances) and numerous other artistic venues.
DUMBO is a tiny neighborhood with a big name and spectacular views of Manhattan’s skyline, NY Harbor, the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. DUMBO is also defined by its location, being the first neighborhood in Brooklyn off the Brooklyn Bridge. It is now a choice location for well-heeled professionals, corporate decision-makers and successful artists.
* Just to the north is the neighborhood of Vinegar Hill, which boasts nineteenth-century houses and Belgian-block streets. Despite the area’s historical name (after the site of a 1798 British-Irish military battle), there are modern luxury condos sprouting here in Vinegar Hill too.
Transport for both DUMBO and Vinegar Hill is by subway (the F train at York Street and the A/C train at High Street). NY Waterway runs a water ferry from the Fulton Slip at Fulton Landing, making it a quick commute to downtown Manhattan.