Living in DUMBO

DUMBO is an acronym standing for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, and the acronym sums up DUMBO's location. DUMBO sits on the edge of the East River, looking across to Manhattan. It is an area characterized by cobblestone streets and beautifully converted warehouses. At this point, Vinegar Hill, a four or five block square neighborhood just East of the Manhattan Bridge, is considered part of DUMBO. It has charming brownstones and cobblestone streets. There are a few bodegas in the area, but most of the neighborhood center is in DUMBO.


Until recently, DUMBO was still relatively affordable, an untapped part of Brooklyn. However, in the last ten years, luxury condos have been built, and industrial spaces have turned into huge lofts. It is now very hard to find a 1-bedrood apartment to rent for under $2000. A 2-bedroom apartment typically sells for well over 1.5 million dollars.


Many of the people who live in DUMBO are established artists and their families. Most in the area have young children. These days, the area is not affordable for most young people or people of lower and middle income.


The crime rate in the 84th precinct (DUMBO's) is much lower this year than in years past. In general, walking around DUMBO and Vinegar Hill is pretty safe, though Vinegar Hill is reported to be a slightly more deserted at night than DUMBO.

Parks and Recreation

Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre area park currently under construction on the Brooklyn waterfront, stretching from Fulton Ferry landing by the Brooklyn Bridge to the Con-Ed lot past the Manhattan Bridge. The plan is to make this area full of lawns, beaches, coves, playgrounds and fully landscaped areas. Parts of the park have already opened and during the summer, there are movies outdoors on the grass every Thursday night.

Gleason's Gym on Front Street is a boxing gym. The Fitness Guru, also on Front Street, has more typical gym facilities. The Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge both have pedestrian walkways. The Brooklyn bridge is slightly wider and more famed, but the Manhattan bridge is significantly less crowded and offers a stunning view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Pubs, Clubs and Entertainment

DUMBO is one of the premier locations for gallery viewing in Brooklyn. Central Booking, A.I.R., Amos Eno, Fluxconcert, Farmani, Henry Gregg Gallery, Illegal Art, Kate Mejia, Klompching Gallery, Kris Graves Projects, Sheila Pye and Nick Pye, Randall Scott Gallery, Umbrage Gallery and Watermill Brooklyn Gallery are all located at 111 Front Street in a large warehouse building that has been converted to beautiful gallery space. There are many other galleries in the neighborhood as well. On the first Thursday night of every month, participating galleries hold open houses, often with wine and cheese.

Galapagos Art Space, formerly of Williamsburg, has relocated to DUMBO and hosts most types of events - live music, performance art, dance, theater, art exhibits, film screenings and even a burlesque night.

Shopping and Eating

DUMBO has many delicious and trendy restaurants. A local favorite is Superfine, located on Front Street. The interior is decorated with local artwork. There is exposed brick and a sunken bar, as well as an orange-felted free pool table and occasional live music, which makes Superfine as much a place to hang out as a place to eat. The food is excellent too, though, Mediterranean-inspired, always with at least one type of fresh fish on the menu. Bubby's is another neighborhood favorite. It is located on the ground floor of one of DUMBO's luxury loft building and has sweeping views of the East River bridge as well as a menu full of comfort food. DUMBO is perhaps most famous for Grimaldi's Pizzeria, on Old Fulton Street almost on the water. Grimaldi's has been serving pizza for many years, and many argue that it is one of the best pizzas in the city, if not the country. Get there early, because a line forms outside the door starting at around 6pm every night, and take note: there are no reservations and no deliveries.

ReBar, on Front Street, is a great bar. There's an excellent beer selection that favors lesser known microbrews, and an expansive organic wine list. The interior is dark-wood and has high ceilings as well as plenty of windows. Low Bar, on Washington Street, feels like a throwback to a less trendy moment. There are strong drinks and good company, as well as occasional live jazz and a reading series.

Peas and Pickle on Washington Street is a well-stocked 24-hour grocery store with a clean deli counter and an expansive salad bar as well. For basic/bulk purchases, the Key Food on Montague Street in neighboring Brooklyn Heights might be slightly more affordable.


The A, C, and F trains all stop in DUMBO, and the 2/3 station at Clark Street is just a short walk away, which makes DUMBO incredibly accessible to Manhattan as well as the rest of Brooklyn. Taxis will travel from Manhattan to DUMBO because of its proximity to the bridges. Walking from DUMBO into Manhattan is also quite doable. The Brooklyn Bridge has a famed and pleasant walkway just about a mile in length and is frequented by commuters, exercisers and pleasure-walkers alike.

Good Points

  • accessible to public transportation
  • unbeatable views of the water
  • trendy restaurants and bars

Bad Points

  • rising rent
  • small main drag



Living in New York | ©2018 Kirsty Henderson