Living in DUMBO
Spectacular waterfront views reward visitors to Vinegar Hill and DUMBO, short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. This compact area nestles into the space at the bases of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. Explore DUMBO and Vinegar Hill's Belgian-blocked streets to reveal an ahead-of-the-curve art scene. This former manufacturing district attracted artists to its deserted lofts in the 1990s. Their arrival transformed the neighborhood with new galleries, independent shops, and avant-garde bookstores. Today's DUMBO is home to a bevy of start-ups. According to the DUMBO Improvement District, close to 80% of local companies are in the creative or tech industries.
DUMBO and Vinegar Hill are well-connected by bus, bike, train, and ferry. The East River Ferry shuttles travelers to and from downtown Manhattan’s Pier 11 in one of the city’s most scenic five-minute journeys. For those who prefer to travel underground, the F, 2, 3, A, and C lines are all serve the area.
DUMBO real estate
DUMBO and its residential Vinegar Hill enclave offer a varied blend of old and new properties. Vinegar Hill real estate occupies a small space of no more than ten blocks. Yet there’s a staggering blend of historic architecture concentrated in this landmark district. The blocks between Plymouth and Front Streets include brick-fronted Greek Revival homes, an Italianate fire house, and pre-Civil War frame houses. Built between 1830 and 1855, many of these homes have been lovingly restored with modern interior features.
Luxurious modern condos are here as well, including the sustainably designed 100 Gold Street development. Its features include recycled glass tiles, water-saving fixtures, and a roof deck with waterfront views. Nearby Waterbridge 47 offers a wine-tasting room for residents. DUMBO real estate includes converted industrial warehouses melded with mirrored-glass high rises to make the most of the Manhattan skyline.
Ship builder John Jackson named Vinegar Hill after a historic 1798 battle between the English and the Irish. Jackson owned a large shipyard in the neighborhood and had houses constructed nearby for his workers. He sold the land to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which helped spur Vinegar Hill’s growth. DUMBO was once an industrial neighborhood known for its dock storehouses and factories. Brillo, J.W. Masury & Son, and Arbuckle Brothers were a few original residents manufacturing their products here. Its quirky name was devised by resident artists in 1978, who helped populate the old warehouses and convert them into galleries, theaters and lofts.
Though the issue of who serves the best pizza in New York is a contentious affair, Grimaldi’s is at the top of the heap. You’ll find an outpost at the corner of Old Fulton and Front streets, serving the old-world coal-oven pies that have drawn crowds for decades. For pizza that’s every bit as delicious but a bit more under-the-radar, venture next door to Juliana’s. It’s owned by legendary Grimaldi’s founder Patsy Grimaldi, and turns out magnificently crispy pizzas capped with succulent homemade meatballs, creamy ricotta and a wealth of other toppings. Housed in a former feather factory, Superfine dishes up seasonally influenced, sustainable cuisine. The menu changes according to what’s fresh at local farmer’s markets, and the Sunday bluegrass brunch is always a hit.
Some of the area’s top eateries occupy Brooklyn Bridge Park. Luke’s Lobster draws lunchtime crowds for the Maine-style lobster rolls, while No. 7 Sub packs in visitors for club sandwiches stuffed with slow-roasted pork shoulder or feta and broccoli. Cap off an al fresco meal under the bridge with a visit to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, featuring locally made ice cream and a rainbow of sundae toppings. Those with a sweet tooth won’t want to miss a visit to renowned chocolatier Jacques Torres’ magical chocolate shop, serving mudslide cookies and ancho chili-infused hot chocolate.
Art and culture attractions abound in DUMBO. While it technically floats in the water just outside of DUMBO’s boundaries near the Fulton Ferry Landing, Bargemusic is an attraction worth seeking out. This floating chamber music venue lets you sway along to the violin as you bob on the water. Another cultural institution of note is St. Ann’s Warehouse, known for its theatrical and musical productions. Edgy art galleries permeate the neighborhood, including Masters Projects, A.I.R., and Klompching Gallery.
The sprawling Brooklyn Bridge Park passes through DUMBO along the waterfront. In addition to its vibrant garden spaces and abundant benches for people-watching or skyline-gazing, a highlight is Jane’s Carousel. Constructed in 1922, this old-fashioned merry-go-round delights visitors of all ages. Its horses prance proudly in a glittering structure designed by star architect Jean Nouvel.
From laid-back sports bars to avant-garde art spaces, DUMBO nightlife has something for everyone. Olympia Wine Bar is a popular gathering place, offering a carefully selected list of vintages as well as classic cocktails like the fashionable Amaro Spritz. A number of friendly pubs and lounges line Jay Street, a prime nightlife destination in the area. One highlight is the 68 Jay Street Bar, occupying the former Grand Union Tea Company warehouse. With industrial arches and warm wooden accents, the bar provides a cozy environment. Pedro’s is a lively, Mexican restaurant and bar next door, known for its tasty margaritas.
DUMBO’s independent boutiques rival those of Soho and Greenwich Village. Housed in spacious loft quarters, shops stock the latest designer fashions and homewares. Trunk is well-stocked with fashionista-friendly brands and local designers, while Modern Anthology is where Brooklynites go for anything from distressed leather accessories to home goods. Explore Dumbo and Vinegar Hill’s artsy side at thought-provoking bookstores like PowerHouse Arena. This bookstore doubles as an event space, and offers literary works spanning all genres.
Dumbo is creative!
"It was wonderful seeing all the open studios, dance performances, and music for the 3 day Dumbo Arts Festival last weekend, then dinner at the superb culinary kitchen at the Vinegar Hill House, and the spectacular Manhattan Bridge Light Show-perfect!"
Local tips and information for going out in the DUMBO/Vinegar Hill from The Corcoran Group. Explore dining, shopping and nightlife.All DUMBO/Vinegar Hill tips