A few hours in DUMBO
A walk around the neighbourhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn
(Photos/words © urban75, Apr 2009)
Once a thriving industrial and manufacturing district populated by warehouses and factories churning out machinery, paper boxes and Brillo soap pads, DUMBO is an acronym for 'Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass', and is located on the Brooklyn side of the bridge.
By the 1970s, most of the industries had disappeared, with artists, squatters and hipsters flocking to occupy the inexpensive loft apartments and warehouse spaces in what was then a run-down area.
A thriving arts community developed, with residents naming the area 'DUMBO' in 1978, hoping that such an unattractive name would help deter developers.
Sadly, the realtors soon realised the potential for the area, and by the end of the 20th century full-scale gentrification was well underway.
A few spaces hung on till the bitter end (including the excellent Dumba in DUMBO arts and activist center), but very little of the original arts/alternative scene remains.
Under the bridge.
The Manhattan Bridge dominates the skyline.
On the East River waterfront there's a stretch of public space, with the Empire–Fulton Ferry State Park linking up to the Brooklyn Bridge Park further south.
Between the bridges.
The Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park was established in 1978 by Governor Carey, and is dominated by two historic buildings, the 1880 Empire Stores buildings and the roofless former Tobacco Warehouse.
The southern part of the park is commonly referred to as Fulton Ferry Landing, thanks to the steam ferry service established by Robert Fulton in 1814.
Empire Stores building with Brooklyn Bridge in the background.
Old railroad tracks in DUMBO.
We spent ages in Zakka NYC, an excellent arts bookstore.
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