Ever since Robert Gair discovered a location with access to shipping just north of the new Brooklyn Bridge in the 1880′s, the neighborhood saw a rise of factories, warehouses, and dock storehouses. Although the area has been known in the past as Rapailie, Olympia, Gairville, or Walentasville, it is now known as Dumbo (which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and these old factories have been converted into luxury lofts and old warehouses into art galleries and theaters. The area’s industrial buildings were recognized by inclusion on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in September of 2000. Dumbo is not quite Brooklyn brownstone and not quite Manhattan glass condo. With its exposed Belgian block streets anchored by massive bridge structures, Dumbo has a unique character all its own.
In 1978, the naming of Dumbo was conceived by resident artists as a way to make the area sound silly and unattractive to people looking to buy real estate here. To read more about the origin of Dumbo’s name, read the story written for the first time on DumboNYC.com by the person who named Dumbo.
On December 18, 2007, the Landmarks Preservation Commission granted landmark status to the Dumbo Historic District. (more here) The historic district is bound by John Street to the north, York Street to the south, Main Street to the west and Bridge Street to the east. (PDF map of Dumbo Historic District boundary and full LPC report). According to the LPC, the Dumbo area was “essential to Brooklyn’s rise as a major American industrial center and was the home of some of the most important industrial firms in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century America including Arbuckle Brothers (coffee and sugar), J. W. Masury & Son (paint), Robert Gair (paper boxes), E. W. Bliss (machinery), and Brillo (steel wool). The buildings in the district reflect the extraordinary diversity of Brooklyn’s industrial development, with manufactured and processed goods including coffee, tea, sugar, machinery, paint, varnish, paper boxes, shoes, soap, ale, and steel wool. By the early twentieth century, Brooklyn was the fourth largest manufacturing center in the entire country and a significant portion of this manufacturing was done in DUMBO.”
The website DumboNYC.com is for those who want to keep up with the many changes in the Dumbo neighborhood or real estate, for residents of Dumbo and its surrounding areas, and for those interested in learning more about the Dumbo neighborhood and community.
DumboNYC.com is run by a resident (not affiliated with real estate, the Dumbo BID or art galleries) who created the site to inform community of the many changes happening in the neighborhood. The site also focuses on entrepreneurs in the area who are running successful businesses. The site currently receives 40,000+ unique visitors per month and 80,000+ page views per month (as of August 2009). We are regularly featured in nymag.com, curbed.com, brownstoner.com, nytimes.com (City Room), Gowanus Lounge, and other well known NY-based blogs on a weekly basis. We have been featured in print editions of the New York Times, New York Magazine, WWD, Crain’s Business Daily, Brooklyn Paper, and Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The site has a specific target audience of people who live, work, or interested in Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights, Fulton Ferry, Vinegar Hill, and Bridge Plaza neighborhoods in Brooklyn. To inquire about advertising, please contact brad [at] blankslate.com.
Contact us if you have any tips, info or news about Dumbo. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks!