11/11/15 9:01am

One Main Street and Empire Stores


The short answer: DUMBO stands for


“Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”


According to Crane Davis, a writer and producer who lived in the neighborhood from 1976 to 2006, he was part of the “naming committee” in 1978:

A naming committee consisting of Selby Beebe, Crane Davis, Monte Davis and John Donovan was appointed. After much sitting around and drinking beer, to a point where none of us could remember who had suggested what, we came up with two alternatives:

DUMBO: Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass
DANYA: District Around the Navy Yard Annex

The choice was presented to the community at a huge loft party and the results weren’t even close. It was DUMBO by a landslide. Everyone agreed that it had just the right kind of Dadaist anti-marketing positioning to protect our turf from developers: who, after all, would spend a million dollars for a loft in a place called DUMBO?

Who, indeed.

That seems pretty clear. But is that what it should stand for?