With or without the Brooklyn Flea, Dumbo is abuzz with exciting and exclusive opportunities every season. Rumor has it that those artists who gave the borough its “uncool” nickname in the 1970s did so in an anti-marketing effort to protect it from development and gentrification. Go figure!
Serving as the borough’s unofficial welcoming post for Manhattanites crossing over into Brooklyn, Dumbo tempts them to go no further. The first of many reasons to stay is the ambiance. With cobblestone streets and old train tracks that recall the neighborhood’s 18th century industrial past, Dumbo offers some of the greatest views of Manhattan of all time, especially when the sun sets.
When in Dumbo, there are more than a few must-sees and must-dos. Check out our top picks below!
Open Thursdays through Sundays throughout the winter season, Jane’s Carousel is a Brooklyn Bridge Park stronghold. With 48 exquisitely carved horses and two superb chariots, the beautiful structure was created in 1922 and has charmed its riders ever since. Come for the afternoon, or plan a photoshoot on the horses!
Visit powerHouse Arena, home to the world-renowned art book publisher powerHouse Books. The Arena stands as a gallery, boutique, bookstore and performative events space all in one. In the words of the owners, powerHouse Arena “showcases a series of landmark exhibitions, performances, and controlled mayhem fusing the worlds of art, photography, design, fashion, pop culture, advertising, music, dance, film, and television into a glorious whirlwind of captivating spectacle.” With soaring 24-foot ceilings and a 5,000-square-foot ground floor featuring glass frontage, the space is airy and makes for a delightful viewing or browsing experience!
Though during the warmer months the Dumbo food scene is championed by the Brooklyn Flea, in the winter many choose to warm up with hot chocolate and handmade treats at Jacques Torres Chocolate. The Willy Wonka-esque emporium offers everything from truffles and cookies to bonbons and gluten-free treats. What’s more, the Dumbo location reigns as the world-famous Mr. Chocolate’s (Jacques Torres) very first chocolate factory.
Founded by the same mogul behind Grimaldi’s Pizza, Juliana’s is just a few steps away from the original New York City stronghold. Named for pizza proprietor Patsy Grimaldi’s mother Juliana, the old-school pies are delicious with their thin crusts and the finest housemade, locally and internationally-sourced toppings.
Through its art gallery and online collection, the McMahan Photo Art Gallery and Archive includes over 25,000 photos for sale, for use as fine art photo prints, posters and greeting cards. Founded by award-winning New York City-based urban landscape and documentary photographer Robert McMahan in 2001, the gallery has since grown into an art collection of worldwide acclaim with historical, unique and iconic photographs of museum quality.
Top your Dumbo experience off by witnessing one of the borough’s best views. Here on Washington Street between Front and Water Streets, the Empire State Building is visible behind the Manhattan Bridge. The charm of Dumbo’s cobblestone streets in the forefront makes the image more than capture-worthy!