by Britt Perkins
Had Scorsese known that the neighborhood now known as Dumbo was previously referred to as Two Bridges and Fulton Landing, the Lower East Side may have had competition for the setting of “Gangs of New York.” Alas, residents purposely uglified their neighborhood’s name to avoid being gentrified and thus priced out. Who would want to live in a place called Dumbo, they thought?
Actually an acronym for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass,” Dumbo is nestled between the concrete and steel titans of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. The raw exterior that hearkens back to Dumbo’s not-too-distant industrial history possesses a rugged beauty. Artists and their galleries have sought refuge for more than 30 years within these concrete walls, thanks to a 1970s government-backed program to increase renters in the area.
Officially designated as a historic district in 2007 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee, Dumbo is well worth exploring. The following are some places to start with.
1. Warm-up: STEWART/STAND
11:30 – 7:30 daily
The corner of Front & Pearl St (141a)
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Part design experiment, part boutique specializing industrial-inspired accessories, Stewart/Stand is a good spot to start off your day in Dumbo.
The Stewart/Stand Design store is located at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge near Brooklyn Bridge Park. Contemporary gifts featuring original products by Stewart/Stand, select Brooklyn, US & international designers.
2. Get crafty: ETSY LABS
55 Washington Street, Suite 512, Brooklyn NY, 11201
Monday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
This season it’s all about DIY and craft. Maybe you’ve been eyeballing some yarn or have an idea for a killer button, but you just don’t know where to start. Scratch that creative itch with an Etsy Craft Night.
The creative group has all of the supplies you will need to turn your childlike wonder into something tangible: perfect for gift-giving or fridge decorating.
Formed to bridge Etsy’s online sales platform for everything handmade with the local community, there is no experience or ability required to play at Etsy Labs.
3. Sweet and Savory: ALMONDINE BAKERY
85 Water St (btwn Main St & Washington St)
Brooklyn, NY 11201
For the Goldilocks of breads and pastries, visiting Almondine Bakery is a must. Sweets done to perfection and croissants that stand alone or make a sandwich are what you’ll find. Quiche, soups and artisan American fare are served up for lunch or a latte and an eponymous “fancy patisserie” are delicious as a midday reprieve.
4. Big Course: SUPERFINE
126 Front St (between Adams St & Jay St)
Brooklyn, NY 11201
York St (F)
High St (A, C)
When your dogs are barking, relaxing with food, drink and ambiance is much-needed. Superfine serves it all up in a stimulating, modern atmosphere. Reds and oranges in just the right amount complement a variety of art that lends itself to a night that goes beyond your standard diner and dive bar.
Live entertainment and Mediterranean-American inspired flavors stimulate the palate in the later hours, but Superfine earns much of its reputation from its Sunday brunch.
5. Main Event: ST. ANN’S WAREHOUSE
38 Water Street (at the corner of Water Street and Dock Street, opposite the entrance to Fulton Ferry State Park)
718.254.8779 or 866.811.4111
Throughout its eclectic, genre-bending history, St. Ann’s Warehouse has been consistent in one aspect: being at the forefront of the musical and theatrical avant-garde.
After 30 years, this season is no different. “Penelope” delves into the minutiae of the lives of four suitors to the eponymous queen waiting for her Homer to return from his odyssey. For a more overtly physical presentation, “Red Shoes” tells the story of a footwear obsession that goes from dancingly delightful to dangerous.
The warehouse space also provides a break from the vertigo and narrowness of Broadway seating to a more relaxed, modern community environment.
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