DUMBO is at last becoming a thing.
Emerging as a new Brooklyn “it” neighborhood in the post-Millennium, it somehow managed to avoid the out-of-control development of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. But now no longer just a sleepy, formerly-industrial swath of land sitting under the Manhattan Bridge, DUMBO’s burgeoning dining, shopping and cultural scene has made it a destination unto itself. Much can be attributed to David and Jed Walentas’ Two Trees, which has seen to the slow and careful growth of the area – while also supporting the local creative communities.
Notably, those same creatives will surely be congregating at the newest outpost of Soho House, fittingly named DUMBO House, which will be opening thus summer. Expect a lot of hobnobbing around the rooftop pool.
On the walkway along the East River between the Manhattan Bridge to the north, and the iconic Brooklyn Bridge to the south, is the Empire Stores – a beautifully restored brick warehouse and garden. The open air complex is home to West Elm, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and Cecconi’s, a fashionable Italian eatery imported from LA – with outdoor dining, spectacular views of Manhattan, and a creative selection of cicchetti, gourmet pizzas and pastas like agnolotti del plin with black truffle.
It’s also home to Lauren Bush’s FEED. Founded to provide sustainable livelihoods to underserved populations, each sale of the artisan-made totes, bags and accessories provide meals to the community. We love the Go-to Canvas bag and the burlap Beaded Kenya Bag – hand beaded and sewn by locals in Kenya.
For an exquisite collection of furnishings art and decor, including their own namesake line, Mark and Kristen Zeff’s 3000 square foot BLACKBARN (at 20 John Street) is a must stop. The candles and wicker baskets are particular faves.
Running parallel to the park is the quaint, cobblestoned Water Street. Pop into The Modern Chemist, a neighborhood pharmacy, for a selection of hard to find personal care and beauty products, or chat with one of their in-store wellness experts. We can’t resist a stop at the beloved Seamore’s, where you’ll instantly be transported to the beach. Replenish with a Hook, Line + Sinker cocktail, w/ Hendrick’s gin, strawberry, fresh lemon, mint and peach bitters, paired with an order of blackened shrimp Big Fish Tacos. Before heading off to gallery hopping, pick up a decadent handmade truffle or ice cream sandwich at Jacques Torres.
Round out your day at 16 Main Street, a former horse stable that is now home to DUMBO’s gallery scene. From the abstract works at Minus Space to contemporary fine art photography at Klompching Gallery and United Photo Industries, you’ll see thought-provoking works from emerging and mid-career artists.
For post-gallery-hopping happy hour, head back to Empire Stores and the Sugarcane raw bar grill – for oysters, sushi rolls and $7 mojitos and caipirinhas.