In New York-ese, DUMBO refers not to the famous flying circus elephant but to a cluster of 19th-and early 20th-century warehouses and factories tucked away Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. The iconic towers and cables of the Brooklyn Bridge, along with the Lower Manhattan skyline, are especially striking when viewed from two waterside retreats, Empire-Fulton Ferry Park and the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
DUMBO is no longer the edgy artist enclave it once was, but the avant-garde is still in evidence at St Ann’s Warehouse, an innovative theater in a converted spice-milling factory. Bargemusic is an atmospheric little concert hall mounted on a former coffee barge moored at Fulton Ferry Landing. The Manhattan skyline and shimmering river are romantic backdrops for performances that run the gamut from chamber music to jazz.
Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO’s neighbor, makes no pretense to being trendy. The shady streets of brick townhouse are an old-fashioned remnant of genteel New York, home to prosperous burghers who commuted by ferry to Lower Manhattan. The bench-lined Brooklyn Heights Promenade is the best place to enjoy the magical views across the East River, and the experience is nicely enhanced with a scoop from the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory in an old fireboat station below the Promenade.