In 2010, the US economy continued to struggle, an oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico spilling an estimated 4.9 millions of barrels of oil, Obama’s healthcare bill was signed, China ascended as the world’s second largest economy, we saw the rise of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, and Foursquare, and a little tablet computer called the iPad was launched to market by Apple. Some bright spots, and some not so bright areas of the world affected everyone, including those of Dumbo residents and businesses. Based on data provided by the NYC and the lack of inventory, Dumbo’s real estate held its own. While the US unemployment rate stayed around 10%, early stage companies and ‘digital’ businesses in Dumbo were hiring, growing, being acquired, and even becoming too big to stay. Nimble companies based in Dumbo saw opportunities in social media and app development for the iPhones, iPads, and Android markets. Digital Dumbo, the local networking event for social media, digital, and tech firms saw a huge rise in attendees, participants, and companies looking to hire.
As in the past years, Dumbo continued it’s change. That word seems to be the constant in the neighborhood in the past few years. Dumbo had a year of being a construction zone to make its infrastructure more modern, while keeping the old world charm of Belgian block streets. Parks were closed for renovation while new ones opened up. And finally the retail opening and closings seem to happen every month or so. Let’s take a look back at 2010 and see how Dumbo has changed for better or for worse.
- New Retailers Opened in Dumbo in 2010
Dewey’s Candy, Stewart/Stand (relocation), Taylor Fitness, ñ Restaurant, Choice Kitchens, Priviledged, DUMBO Muffin, the Cafe (opened, closed, and reopened as Archway Cafe), MotoDumbo, Abhaya Yoga, P.S. Bookshop and Brooklyn Bridge Gardens, O’Crepes, DUMBO Gymnastics, NOS Men, Shibui, Barber on Pearl, Rapid Realty, and The Best Chocolate Cake
- …But not as many retailers closed shop this year.
Compared to prior years, Loopy Mango and Mikey’s Hook-Up were the two retailers that moved out. Many of the retailers have told us that if they survived Dumbo in the past two years, they are ready to take on 2011 and beyond. Is the worst of the poor economy past us?
- Dumbo as Construction Zone
Both Water Street (from Adams to Old Fulton Streets) and Washington Street (from York to Plymouth Streets) were dug up to install water and sewer mains so the area has updated infrastructure. Construction is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2011. Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge are also being worked on.
- Construction Includes the Parks
Empire Fulton Ferry State Park closed to improve drainage, add park furnishings, lighting, and of course house Jane’s Carousel (which is still generating controversy for its placement). Another concern by some include the removal of the trees. The scheduled reopening is spring 2011. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 and 6 opened with much fanfare this past Spring.
- Dumbo’s Techs: NY Digital District, Digital Dumbo, Silicon Beach, Whatever
Whatever name is given, what unites this historic Dumbo is the creative community (artists of all types- painters, sculptors, and the digital type), the dynamic entrepreneurs who navigate their business worlds with will power and hard work, and the new residents. Dumbo’s online presence in social media, websites, and services blossomed and ‘the media’ declared the neighborhood’s companies as the ones to watch. (NY Digital District, Digital Dumbo, Silicon Beach)
- Dumbo’s Real Estate Defied Larger Market Trend
A 70 Washington Penthouse sold in 4 weeks for $3,850,000. A 30 Main St apartment was listed for almost $5.4 million. A $25 Million Dumbo apartment is in negotiation. Is this 2006? According to realtors, clients are on the sidelines waiting for listings to come to market. If it’s not the Wall Streeters whose bonus this year increased over 2010, more inquiries are coming from where else? Asia, or specifically China.
- Gentrification Is in Full Swing in Dumbo
NY Magazine declared that Dumbo is one of the ‘most livable neighborhoods’ with David Walentas as the “benevolent dictator with a vision for the whole neighborhood.” If that doesn’t say gentrification, we don’t know what is. The MTA even declared it so by putting Dumbo on the map and showing how the 2009 subway ridership in Dumbo area stations went up. There was even a foot tapping song about it called Yuppie Exodus From Dumbo (by Jed Davis). Other ‘signs’ in 2010 were the installation of Dumbo’s First stoplight, a new Two Trees marketing sign on 45 Main Street building and Downtown Brooklyn Wayfinding Sign Installations. And finally a national AP story describes Dumbo as ‘trendy’, ‘offbeat’, and ‘a secret neighborhood’, which means that if you haven’t heard of Dumbo by now, it’s too late to ‘discover’ the neighborhood.
- Even with Gentrification, Keep an Eye Out for Crime
Of course car break ins occurred again and again. And if you think just because there are lots of rich residents in Dumbo, you’re immune to muggings. It happened in broad daylight, and again, and again. There was even a bank robbery this year, though the robber was arrested thanks to a vigilant doorman.
- But We All Still Love Dumbo’s Festivals (Big and Small)
As is every summer, there are festivals in Dumbo (BKLYN Designs, New York Photo Festival, Bent Festival). There was a fun Night Market, hosted by the celebrity chef David Chang, a 2010 World Science Festival, RE/Mixed Media Festival 2010, the 6th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, and of course the largest one, the Dumbo Arts Festival 2010.
- Food Truck Craze Hits Dumbo
One of the biggest complaints I hear from friends and neighbors is that it’s missing some good food options (especially Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Italian). 2010 brought us the food trucks for the lunch crowd in Dumbo: Halal truck, wafels & dinges, Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, Munch Truck, and Schnitzel and Things. (Though we haven’t seen Schnitzel Fridays, Cravings Truck, or Treats Truck in a while. Come back!) Someone even spotted a free range chicken, but turned out it was not for lunch or dinner.
Of course there were many more changes and events in Dumbo. There will be much more to come in 2010. Please comment below on other items of significance in Dumbo in 2010 I may have missed.