dumbo100419_ledeThis last warmish Sunday, we ventured over the Brooklyn Bridge to DUMBO (official translation, Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). This transitional neighborhood is a haven for millennials and their families – endless couples with children and dogs and where playgrounds and familial delights such as Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and three pizza restaurants proliferate.

And then there’s the more sedate River Café, which welcomes more traditional clientele and long time habitués. We had a lovely Heitz Cellars chardonnay overlooking the river in the sunny bar area with comfortable “Jonathan Schwartz” piano music tinkling in the background.

The elephant in the room is the need of cash. The area nearest the river is still burdened by streets of cobblestones, sometimes covered with old macadam that has disintegrated over the years. (Lots of axel-st. ann’s warehouse

destroying holes to negotiate.)

A huge warehouse that was promised to be overhauled by 2015 is obviously in need of a fresh infusion of cash. This was undoubtedly the San Francisco Cannery dream of some developer. But right next door is St. Ann’s Warehouse of the same vintage. It has been redesigned by architect Hugh Hardy and is finished and admitting patrons to see Mark Rylance’s “Nice Fish.”

The Walentas family is so far spending two generations of resources and dedication towards restoring and rebuilding areas such as parks, apartment buildings, the Wythe Hotel and other future projects plus the pièce de résistance… Jane’s Carousel House in a deNoye building at the water’s edge. This delightful fantasy hosts children and families all day, and is available for parties when booked in advance.

Water taxis stream their way to and fro through various tugs and barges. There was even a plan to take theatregoers straight from downtown Manhattan to St. Anne’s Warehouse, but this is still in the offing.

There is so much life in DUMBO, so much potential…and so much noise coming from trains that track their way back and forth over the Manhattan Bridge sometimes two at a time crossing each other. One wonders how much soundproofing must be done to actually live near there. (Think the “Clock Tower” at some zillion-dollar price for the tower triplex.)

48-street-GOZOOMA-6832On the other hand, the Brooklyn Bridge was replete with seemingly hundreds of strollers headed in or out of the city; many of those same people who walk to and from work every morning.

Someone was interviewing couples: “How do you like living here?” From what we heard, the answers were positive. This is the avowed Brooklyn Tech Triangle where both tech startups and art studios align to create new ideas and works of art. The atmosphere is vital, young and extraordinarily diverse, which creates an energy that even the Battery – with all its big buildings and young families – cannot emulate. DUMBO, right now, seems to be the consummate example of “New York City Values.” So take a look!

Barbara Tober



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