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Sunday, March 28, 2010

DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)

View towards the DUMBO neighborhood from underneath the Manhattan Bridge from which the neighborhood gets part of its name.

DUMBO is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. During the 1970s as many manufacturing operations closed, this area saw itself become a haven for artists. The area between John Street, York Street, Main Street, and Bridge Street was named a historic district by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on December 18, 2007.

The gate blocking this vaulted arch supporting the Manhattan Bridge was recently removed, and a dramatic pedestrian walkway connects the DUMBO neighborhood with Vinegar Hill to the east. According to the website of the Dumbo Business Improvement District that was partly responsible for the conversion project, approximately $200,000 of in-kind donations were received from Pearly Realty, Two Trees Management, and Sciame Construction. Roger Marvel Architects and Jim Conti Lighting Design created a beautifully lit space.

This tiny structure at 190 Water Street, has a wonderfully whimsical door covered in bumper stickers and outdoor sculpture. Such details help to reaffirm the identity of DUMBO as an important district for the arts and artists. Photos of sculpture taken from this area follow.

At first this appears to be construction debris, though on closer inspection the concrete casts from planters of varying sizes may be discerned.

View of the Empire Fulton Ferry State Park. The terraced seating leading to the water helps to improve public access to the waterfront and allows for a natural shoreline that is better for the health of the river.

Pedro's Spanish American Restaurant with its vivid colors, murals, and gritty feel, anchors a corner of Jay and Front Street in DUMBO. Even simple buildings without much architectural character can be transformed with creativity. The low overhead then allows for this to serve as an affordable neighborhood eatery and gathering place.

Across the street from Pedro's is this massive brick warehouse building. Retail uses predominate on the ground floor, while upper floors house galleries, artist studios, and loft apartments. Among the many notable firms that call this place home, includes StudioEIS, makers of surprisingly lifelike bronze sculptures of historical figures.

Units are being subdivided on the ground floor of the Front Street building, to provide for multiple tenants. The transparency provided by window walls throughout, creates visual interest and makes individual spaces to feel less box-like.

A.I.R. Gallery was founded in 1972, as the first artist-run not-for-profit gallery for women artists in the U.S. On the second floor of the Front Street building, an artist in residence program shows the work of women artists on the 2nd floor.

Dewey's Candy at 141 Front Street opened in early 2010. The whimsical window display with larger-than-life candy sculpture fits in with the artsy character of the district.