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DUMBO, Near the Brooklyn Bridge — A Tour of Trendy Front Street

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Defining DUMBO — Betweeen the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge
DUMBO, Near the Brooklyn Bridge — A Tour of Trendy Front Street

View of Brooklyn Bridge from picturesque DUMBO, where photo ops are abundant.

Photo © Ellen Freudenheim

Why & When to Visit DUMBO

DUMBO, a tiny but prominent Brooklyn neighborhood on the East River, sits beneath two of Brooklyn's most famous bridges, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge. Beyond simply defining the neighborhood's location, these historic, landmark — and looming — bridges define the essence of DUMBO, both past and present.

 

 

Why is DUMBO a "Destination?"

As old time Brooklyn residents will attest, DUMBO wasn't always a destination address. To the contrary. For about a century it one of Brooklyn's many centers of manufacturing.

 

But today, along with its waterfront access, it's DUMBO's re-purposed 19th century nitty-gritty charm, or the echo of it, that makes you feel like you've been "somewhere else" after spending even an hour in the area.

In its 21st reincarnation, the neighborhood is a favorite destination for Brooklyn residents, guests and tourists. That's thanks to a pleasing, unique mix of attractions: interesting shopping, fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline and Lady Liberty, a full calendar of special events (many free, such as outdoor summer movies), cobblestone streets and characterful old buildings worthy of a movie (many have been shot here), the extraordinary Jane's Carousel, and New York City's newest big park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, which rivals Prospect and Central Parks in terms of athletic, cultural and culinary experiences. In addition, there is a nascent high tech industry growing in DUMBO.

When to Visit DUMBO: Something for Every Season

DUMBO has its seasons. In high tourist season, and on weekends, you'll find tour buses and lines at the pizzerias, ice cream parlors and bathrooms. But it's a big, airy area, with much larger buildings than human-scaled brownstone neighborhoods such as Brooklyn Heights nearby. Here are some ideas for what to do, when, though many of the following ideas are year-round.
  • In summer: Enjoy the great events and performances at spectacular Brooklyn Bridge Park, including Syfy outdoor movies, the outdoor locavore snack-fest in the historic Tobacco Warehouse that is known as Smorgasburg on the weekends (through November), swim in the PopUp Pool, hear the Metropolitan Opera, rent a bike and ride around Brooklyn, and enjoy various festivals. For instance, enjoy the June Kite Flying Festival. Take advantage of kayaking, the East River ferry and those wonderful breezes. Check out the shows at Galapagos. Watch the historic re-enactment of George Washington's escape from the losing Battle of Brooklyn in late August.
  • In autumn: As tourist crowds thin out, visit DUMBO's galleries, and take in the community events around such calendar dates as the Brooklyn Book Festival in September and Halloween in October. Don't miss the autumn DUMBO Arts Festival. On a nice Sunday go to the DUMBO farmers market. Attend one of the ETSY labs, a mecca for DIYers with a commercial sense.
  • In winter: Do not miss the chance to go to Jacques Torres for a cup of incredible hot chocolate in the cold weather, or an expensive dinner at the cozy River Cafe. See the lighting of the Christmas tree and gigantic menorah under the Archway, and shop at the holiday craft fair. Cozy up for a   drink and  bluegrass brunch at Superfine. For a sense of quiet, wander DUMBO's streets in the morning or early part of a weekend day. Check out the shows at edgy St. Ann's Warehouse. Take a December walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • In spring: Catch a concert at Brooklyn's floating concert hall, Bargemusic. Watch the wedding limos line up near Fulton Landing and the bridal parties posing for photo shoots. Walk around Brooklyn Bridge Park, take photos of Lady Liberty, walk or bike the Brooklyn Bridge. See what's up at the art galleries and Powerhouse Arena Books. Take the kids to the playground, bring a book and ...relax.

5 Basics About DUMBO

  1. How to Get to DUMBO: Directions by Foot, Car, Subway, Ferry and Bus
  2. What's the Best Direction to Walk Over the Brooklyn Bridge? To or from Brooklyn?
  3. Great Food Between Meals: Sweets for the Sweet in DUMBO
  4. Best Kept Secret: The Park Near the Brooklyn Bridge
  5. Where to Park a Car in DUMBO

Other Useful Info:

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