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DUMBO Brooklyn: NYC’s most expensive, tech-heavy neighborhood

If you’re looking to live down the street from the offices of some of the country’s most exciting tech start-ups, in a neighborhood paved with cobblestone streets that is hugged by a stunning waterfront with an unobstructed view of Manhattan’s skyscrapers, DUMBO is the ideal home for you.

That is, if you can afford the north Brooklyn enclave’s steep housing prices.

Originally an industrial area packed with factories and warehouses, DUMBO — which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass — became popular among artists in the 1990s and early 2000s before transitioning into the tech hub that it is today.

Currently, about 80% of the companies based in the area are in the tech and creative industries, according to the DUMBO Improvement District.

According to artist and Community Board 2 member Doreen Gallo, “the neighborhood is much more residential and upscale” than it was when she moved in 20 years ago.

“There’s a lot of very interesting businesses and startups, so it’s vibrant in that way,” Gallo added.

For example, the digital marketing agencies Huge and Big Spaceship, both headquartered at 45 Main St., are among the 700 tech firms currently based in DUMBO. The online marketplace Etsy is also famously housed in the area, at 55 Washington St.

Meanwhile, young families and professionals make up a large portion of DUMBO’s demographic, locals said. Many were lured by the neighborhood’s proximity to the city, being one stop away from Manhattan via the F train.

“We really like that we’re not in Manhattan,” said Sarah Descala, 26, a personal assistant who moved to DUMBO a few months ago. “My boyfriend and I both work in the city. I’m on the Upper East Side, he’s in Midtown, and we just think it’s chaos [in Manhattan].”

The area isn’t necessarily a more affordable option than Manhattan, however.

In 2015, the median recorded sales price in DUMBO was $1,357,500, compared to $965,000 in the whole borough of Manhattan, according to StreetEasy.

The median sales price in Brooklyn as a whole in 2015 was $650,000, according to StreetEasy.

Renting in DUMBO isn’t inexpensive, either.

The median rental price in DUMBO in 2015 was $4,000, compared to $2,500 in Brooklyn and $3,195 in Manhattan.

“Because it’s very unique with its strong industrial overtone, its beautiful waterfront access and it [is] kind of centrally located … it’s a great place to live, and it allows the prices to stay high,” said David Maundrell, executive vice president of new development marketing for Brooklyn and Queens at Citi Habitats, who has lived in DUMBO since 2002.

Despite its amenities, the area has some downsides.

One gripe locals expressed is that the tiny neighborhood lacks dining and nightlife options.

“There are no great restaurants here,” said Ilse Eriksson, the owner and designer at the fashion boutique mel en stel on Front Street. “I don’t know why a lot of people want to move here, you have to go to the city for white tablecloth dining and there’s no nightlife.”

Day-to-day life in DUMBO is often disrupted by film production that closes streets at least twice a week for shooting.

“[Movie] shooting is actually somewhat of a headache, it makes finding parking here difficult,” said Nick Goldfarb, 48, of Flatbush, who owns the DUMBO-based production company Matador Productions.

And tourists flock to explore the waterfront along Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The greenspace stretches 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River edge and has several playgrounds for children, along with a roller skating rink on Pier 2 and the historic Jane’s Carousel.

Melinda Reid, a 45-year-old English teacher who moved to DUMBO almost a year ago with her husband and their two children after living in Manhattan for six years, said she found that the neighborhood offers plenty of fun things to do with her family.

“It’s great having the Brooklyn Bridge Park. We like to bike ride in it and roller skate on Pier 2,” she said. “It’s very pretty here. I like the cobblestone streets and it’s more relaxed here than in Manhattan.”

Find it:

DUMBO is bordered by the East River to the north; York Street to the west; Hudson Avenue down to Navy Street to the east; and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to the south, according to StreetEasy.

Restaurants in DUMBO

Archway Cafe57 Pearl St.Situated next to the Manhattan
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Archway Cafe

57 Pearl St.

Situated next to the Manhattan Bridge Archway, this café serves spinach pies and omelets for breakfast and fresh salads and sandwiches for lunch. The dinner menu will be available this fall when a chef is selected.

Archwaycafe.com

Love & Dough

57C Pearl St.

A charming eatery adjacent to the Manhattan Bridge, serving Neapolitan specialties, brick-oven pizzas, Mediterranean salads and pastas -- all made with fresh ingredients.

Loveanddough.com

Pedro's Mexican Bar & Restaurant

73 Jay St.

This family-owned restaurant serves Dominican and Mexican fare and is known for its specialty sandwiches. Also find $3 beers and $5 margaritas.

Brooklynpedros.com

Bars and nightlife

The Bridges66 Water St.Watch a sporting event at
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

The Bridges

66 Water St.

Watch a sporting event at this restaurant and bar, which offers several draft beers and a variety of cocktails. Play a round of pool with friends or book an event in the downstairs space.

Thebridgesdumbo.com

Baco DUMBO

71 Jay St.

This multi-purpose event space with 14-foot ceilings is used for private and corporate events and can hold up to 85 guests.

Bacodumbo.com

Olympia Wine Bar

54 Jay St.

Treat yourself to a glass of red or white wine, which starts at $7, or try an appetizing $12 cheese plate or $5 crostini for two.

Olympiawinebar.com

Where to shop around DUMBO

Aegir Boardwalks99 Water St.Named after the Norse god
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Aegir Boardwalks

99 Water St.

Named after the Norse god of the sea, this shop is geared toward surfers, skaters and snowboarders, with boards and wetsuits for sale. It also does repairs, including snowboard and ski tuning.

Aegirboardworks.com

Trunk

68 Jay St. #101

A lifestyle boutique that sells women's clothing, jewelry, accessories, art and furniture -- all designed and made locally.

Trunkbrooklyn.com

P.S. Bookshop

76 Front St.

This bookshop buys and sells used and rare books in areas such as fiction, nonfiction, children's, YA, art and graphic novels.

Psbookshopnyc.com

Things to do in DUMBO

Brooklyn Bridge ParkFurman and Old Fulton streetsResidents and
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Furman and Old Fulton streets

Residents and visitors can take a stroll, sit on the grass for a picnic or stop for the obligatory selfie.

Brooklynbridgepark.org

Klompching Gallery

89 Water St.

Founded in 2007, Klompching sells and exhibits contemporary art and photography by emerging and established artists.

Klompching.com

St. Ann's Warehouse

45 Water St.

This 34-year-old space hosts theater productions and concerts.

Stannswarehouse.org

Transit basics

Trains:F to York StreetBuses:B25, B57, B62, B67, B69
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Trains:

F to York Street

Buses:

B25, B57, B62, B67, B69

DUMBO real estate data

Median recorded sales price: $1,357,500 Number of homes
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Median recorded sales price: $1,357,500

Number of homes on market: 222

Median asking rent: $4,000

Number of rentals on market: 483

(Source: StreetEasy)

The buzz

The Sunday Brooklyn Flea is back in DUMBO
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

The Sunday Brooklyn Flea is back in DUMBO this spring, after spending the last five years in Williamsburg.

The popular market, founded in 2008 by the same team that started Smorgasburg in 2011, is held year-round, but is only outside from April through November. It was last in DUMBO in 2009.

This season, it is being held at the Manhattan Bridge Archway Plaza at Anchorage Place and Water Street.

It is a bit smaller than in previous years, with about 75-80 vendors, down from the roughly 120 that gathered in Williamsburg.

Brooklyn Flea co-founder Eric Demby said customers will find plenty of delicious eats and fun tchotchkes in the DUMBO location.

"The Flea [hasn't] changed a ton, except that the quality of new vendors continues to go up, and our longtime vendors dig deeper to find the coolest stuff in the world for crowds to peruse," he said.

The flea market opened on April 3 and operates on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Saturday Brooklyn Flea is held in Fort Greene.

Q&A with Olga Romanovna, PR director at Usagi NY

DUMBO resident Olga Romanovna, 29, handles public relations
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Olga Romanovna

DUMBO resident Olga Romanovna, 29, handles public relations for Usagi NY, a 2,800-square-foot exhibition space, bookstore and cafe that opened at 163 Plymouth St. in July 2015. Designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, the gallery showcases the work of emerging artists, designers, architects, engineers, writers and musicians.

Why did Usagi choose to open in DUMBO?

DUMBO is home to some of the world's most innovative companies, artists and publications. At the same time, DUMBO and the neighboring Vinegar Hill have a lot of history and a lot of soul. This seamless integration of heritage and cutting-edge innovation really resonates with our Japanese-owned business.

Why do you love DUMBO?

It is a beautiful place to be, to exist. The beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park is nearby, and we have some incredible neighbors -- St. Ann's Warehouse, Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop, Powerhouse Arena, P.S. Bookshop, Front General Store, [which] sells incredible vintage clothes, and numerous art galleries.

What is one improvement the neighborhood needs?

We need more people to come and spend time in DUMBO. It is easily accessible from Manhattan and most areas of Brooklyn and Queens, and there is so much to do and see here! More food options and some night life would be nice, too. Currently there are fewer restaurants in DUMBO as compared to, for example, Williamsburg, East Village and Lower East Side -- despite the fact that we are just two short stops from the Lower East Side, three stops from East Village and a 10-minute ferry ride from Williamsburg. As for nightlife, there really isn't any. A great music venue and a few more bars would be a most welcome addition to the neighborhood.

What do you notice about the area's residents?

People who live here tend to be very creative and open. It is wonderful to chat with them when they stop by our gallery and learn of their newest projects and travels.

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