2006 was a year of change for the residents of Dumbo Brooklyn, much like the late 1990s, when the condo conversion of One Main Street (aka Clocktower Building) was completed in 1998 followed by the condo conversion of 30 Main Street (aka Sweeney Building) in 2003. Change has been a constant in Dumbo. Of course the neighborhood name itself implies change, an area that has been referred to as Rapailie, Olympia, Fulton Landing, Gairville, and now Dumbo. Visitors, residents, and New Yorkers come to Dumbo and either hate it or love it. To love Dumbo is to love the bridges, its old (and new) buildings, its motion, its Belgian block streets, even its noise from the bridges above. The constants in Dumbo are the views of Manhattan and the bridges, the streetscapes, the close knit community, and of course change. I took some time to take a look back to 2006 at the various highlights and events that made this year in Dumbo an interesting one.
Top Ten ‘Happenings’ in Dumbo 2006:
- Dumbo no longer considered an ‘up and coming’ neighborhood
With more million dollar condos and even a few chain stores in the neighborhood, it is no longer considered “fringe”. Though there are still many artists and galleries in the area, Dumbo went from artists’ colony to condo glut in the past several years. New York Times featured Dumbo in their ‘Living In’ section and was careful to make no mention of words such as “trendy” or “up and coming”. According to a New York Magazine article, Dumbo was so over in 2005. With the ‘up and coming’ status gone, there’s less sex in Dumbo, at least in public.
- Dumbo Goes Global
2006 is the year Dumbo is recognized by international media. Articles about Dumbo were written from around the world, including the UK, Canada, Scotland, Australia, Italy, Japan, and China.
- Dumbo Real Estate Boom Continued
Real estate pricing/sales in 2006 went up and up. No one knows whether the real estate prices will continue to go up in Dumbo in 2007, but we’ll keep an eye out.
- Brooklyn Became a Destination in 2006
We saw a surge of articles in the media on Brooklyn with many mentions of Dumbo. Travel and Leisure Magazine featured Brooklyn as a destination, not just a pitstop from Manhattan. Brooklyn, as a brand even became favorable with companies such as Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn Industries, or Brooklyn Clothing Co.
- New Retailers Come to Dumbo
Zoe, PowerHouse, Delloritos, P.S. Bookstore, Loopy Mango, BoConcept, Sovereign Bank, Tivoli Home.
- First Annual “Dumbo Light Capades”
To see the illumination of the Empire Stores building in the Park was a proud moment for Dumbo. The lights can be seen from Manhattan’s East side.
- The Dumbo Improvement District Established
The Dumbo Improvement District, a new BID without the word “business” in the title was formed in the summer of 2006 to address needs of the residents and businesses in Dumbo. They are looking at improving parking needs, fixing the block streets, and improving business relations in the community.
- Dumbo Artists Continue to Work in Dumbo
…for now. As loft prices and artist studios become prohibitively expensive for talented artists in the area, some are forced to move out. However, Two Trees Management, the property managers for many of the buildings established Dumbo First Thursdays, an event that features area galleries and artists’ studios open on the first Thursday of each month. Let’s hope this sponsorship continues. Of course Dumbo Under The Bridge Festival also brings the largest field for experimentation in public space art by emerging artists in the United States.
- Dumbo High Rises Go Up
The tallest buildings in Dumbo, the 33 story J Condo and 23 story Beacon Tower rise in 2006.
- The End of of the 421-a Developer Subsidies in 2006
No more developer subsidies in Dumbo. A push for a revision of section of 421-a that requires developers in the hottest parts of town — so-called exclusion zones — to make 20 percent of their housing affordable to low-income people if they want the tax break, including Dumbo Brooklyn was passed yesterday.
What did I miss? Anyone else have highlights to add for Dumbo in 2006?