April 16th, 2009
Our friends over at Blue Barn Pictures saw this prototype vehicle, a joint venture with General Motors and Segway called PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility) riding around Brooklyn Bridge Park and Fulton Ferry area. The PUMA has a max speed of 35 mph and the battery will last up to 35 miles. They’re several years away from putting this out to market, but I can’t imagine that it will be a comfortable ride down the Belgian Block streets down Washington or Plymouth Streets in Dumbo.
January 1st, 2009
(Photo courtesy of one of our favorite Dumbo-based photographers, Josh Derr)
2008 saw many ups and downs for Dumbo. Change was the theme for 2007 and 2006, but in 2008, Dumbo seemed more stable and became Brooklyn’s priciest neighborhood, which is to say that gentrification has come and is here to stay (much to the dismay of long time locals). The original local artists, who say that they’ve been priced out of Dumbo saw it coming when the Walentas real estate developers renovated the grand old Gair Buildings. Let’s take a look back at 2008 and see the Dumbo top ten.
- Dumbo Turns Greener with CSA, Farmer’s Market, and Recycling
One of the Dumbo Improvement District’s initiatives in 2008 was their SEED Green effort to make Dumbo more environmentally friendly and sustainable. They brought a farmer’s market to Brooklyn Bridge Park on Main Street and introduced recycling bins on the streets. Dumbo resident Leslie Winston organized a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for Dumbo and Robert Elmes’ Galapagos Art Space created NYC’s first LEED certified ‘green’ cultural venue in Dumbo.
- New Retailers Opened in Dumbo in 2008
DiDi’s Dog Boutique and Leader Trading Company, Dumbo Pet Care, Recycle-a-Bicycle (reopening), Nate’s Pharmacy, Vinegar Hill Veterinary Group, Melville House, J’s Wine and Spirits, Mikey’s Hookup, Salon de Quartier, Galapagos Dumbo, Farmani Gallery, Brooklyn Eagle Claw Kung Fu, Vinegar Hill House Restaurant, NYC Pets, and Wellness Lounge.
- Car break-ins and crime in Dumbo
Unfortunately, 2008 saw lots of broken glass around Dumbo from car break-ins in late summer. A few months later, Darren Stone (aka “Squarehead”) was sentenced for break-ins and other crimes. Also, NYPD deployed Sky Watch in response to a few muggings around the area, which reduced crime. The second half of the year saw a reduction in burglaries, assaults, and larceny. (see 84th Precinct crime stats.)
- Dumbo Improvement District Gets New Executive Director
Dumbo BID Executive Director Tucker Reed leaves for Baghdad and new ED Kate Kerrigan, an experienced community developmnet leader at Downtown Alliance takes over at Dumbo Improvement District.
- Artists Highlight Work in Dumbo
Give credit to the Walentas’ for giving subsidies for artists’ space in Dumbo, but as many artists were priced out of their lofts in past years will tell us, Dumbo isn’t as much a work/live artist neighborhood as it used to be. We did see plenty of art installations in Dumbo this year including Olafur Eliasson’s NYC Waterfalls that people either loved or hated, Tom Otterness’ Large Covered Wagon (which is on view through January 2009), the Telectroscope at Fulton Ferry Landing, and the lighting installation, “This Way” under the Brooklyn Bridge.
- …Including Foreign Street Artists, Who Continue to Show in Dumbo
French street artists, c215, Jef Aérosol (DumboNYC flickr pics), and FKDL (DumboNYC flickr pics), came to Dumbo this year to show us their work. Local galleries Halcyon the shop and Jan Larsen Art occasionally host exhibitions. We’re told by these artists (and others) that there’s more to come in 2009.
- Dumbo’s Photo and Art Festivals Grow
While the Dumbo Art Under The Bridge Festival held their 12th year with a reported 150,000+ visitors, the first annual New York Photo Festival kicked off in 2008. Daniel Power, co-founder of the NYPF envisioned this internationally scaled festival with Frank Evers (of VII Photo) and propelled Dumbo as New York’s ‘photo district’. The NYPF drew large crowds from around the world, but they’re already busy planning for next year’s event, which will be expanded to 10 days (May 14 – 24, 2009). The 6th Annual BKLYN Designs (recap) held their largest design show to date. Founder Karen Auster is planning an even larger event in Dumbo and we look forward to it in 2009.
- Dumbo Real Estate in 2008; Mostly Down
Along with the rest of the country, Dumbo’s real estate prices were down, but not out. Dumbo is still the priciest neighborhood in Brooklyn (per square feet), but as real estate limps into 2009, we may see more drops in prices. Dumbo continued to attract commercial and retail tenants in 2008. The loft prices in 2009 will likely mirror the market in Manhattan, but the neighborhood seems to integrate commerce and residences that attract businesses and retail markets.
- More Movie and TV Filmings
The Dumbo waterfront and desolate streets have always attracted film crews to the area, but NYC film incentive tax breaks and the streetscapes brought more filming to the area in 2008. (Remember old Dumbo in Phil Collins “Take Me Home” music video or Al Pachino’s Ferrari scene in Scent of a Woman?) With the success of the tax incentives, the filmings may continue in 2009.
- Two Trees’ Dock Street Dumbo Development Rejected by Community Board
The Community Board 2′s land use committee voted 7-6 against rezoning of Two Tree’s Dock Street Dumbo project, which is a proposed 183-foot building on Dock Street near the Brooklyn Bridge that includes street level retail, an underground parking garage, a middle school, and rental units above the school. The full community board will vote on the proposed rezoning in January 2009.
Feel free to comment below on other items of significance in Dumbo in 2008. Happy 2009!
December 24th, 2008
Thank you for reading and emailing me throughout the year. If you have any tips or news about Dumbo, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Holidays Dumbo!
December 5th, 2008
There seems to be a dispute at the 45 Main Street Parking Garage which is confusing people who hold monthly spots there. The garage is leased by Rapid Park but the monthly parkers received a letter in September stating that on December 1, 2008, Rapid Park will be replaced by Kwik Park. Rapid Park is refusing to leave and disputing the lease with Two Trees Management, who own the building. Readers have sent emails stating that while Two Trees have been helpful by offering alternative parking, they are confused about who to pay their bills to. From a reader:
We currently park at Rapid Park (next to West Elm, on Main), but heard that the rent is going up there, and I’m not sure where to look for parking garage/lot alternatives. i.e., is the garage under J street only for condo owners?…Right now we pay $358. I heard it is going up in Nov and December and that then Two Trees (or some other Walentas affiliate, if there is one), is buying it and will refund the raised rent, but I don’t recall if rent will be going up again. Anyhow, it got me wondering if there wasn’t a better deal around the neighborhood.
Another reader said this: “Many are unsure as to whom they should pay their rent. What up? Is there a resolution in sight? Can’t see how Two Trees will not prevail. It’s their building, Walentas himself parks there, and Rapid was given many months notice.” Does anyone have any ideas or have a favorite garage or parking lot for parking?
December 4th, 2008
Just a random thought, but not sure why this Dumbo website is on the Zara website (go to Spy City > New York > Cosas Que Hacer En New York > Brooklyn > DUMBO) but along with Dumbo, listed there is Williamsburg, Moon River Chattel, Ludite, Oak, Diner, Marlow and Sons, and Fluke. I guess Zara is going for the vintage furniture, vintage clothing, diner food, Williamsburg, and Dumbo experience. Thanks Zara for including DumboNYC.com.
November 27th, 2008
Thanksgiving is here and we’re thankful for a lot of things. Family, friends, and good food are high on the list. But I also want to thank YOU, for coming here and reading whatever I post from time to time (and posting your comments). Sometimes my posts are mindless stuff, and other times useful (hopefully). Thanks to you who comment and email me information and tidbits about Dumbo, I’m able to keep posting on this blog. Keep emailing Dumbo tips and news! Happy Thanksgiving!
November 25th, 2008
MTA announced a $1.4 billion budget gap and is proposing to eliminate train lines and bus routes. Fortunately for people coming and going to Dumbo via subway, the A/C, F, and 2/3 lines aren’t being cut. Williamsburg will be affected by subway abbreviation and cuts, according to a Brooklyn Paper article. However, the MTA is proposing plans to cut the B25 bus, says the NY Daily News list of proposed 2009 cuts. Eliminating the B25 bus will make it difficult for some commuters and residents as the B25 line is the only public transportation link from Dumbo to commercial areas of Brooklyn such as Montague Street, Joralemon and Court Streets, and Fulton Mall. In addition, it represents an important connection to other modes of transportation within the immediate area – the Water Taxi at Fulton Landing, the Brooklyn Bridge footpath, the 4,5,6,A,C and 2,3 subway lines. One person we spoke to who takes the B25 bus regularly stated that this will make it more difficult to travel around.
“Dumbo and parts of Brooklyn Heights are somewhat isolated, with subway trains more than a 7 minute walk away in many areas – the area is already public transportation challenged…Not to mention that some of the most fiscally productive people in the entire borough live in Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo and to take away these amenities just makes it more difficult to get into employment areas and represents another obstacle to productive living.”
The Dumbo Improvement District previously submitted plans to re-route the B25 bus, but was not granted the request. Also, let’s hope the MTA cost reduction doesn’t mean less service on the subway lines. If you’re concerned about the proposed changes, please comment below and we’ll pass them onto the MTA.
November 24th, 2008
(Photo courtesy of dasmart)
As mentioned in our parking post in October reported from the Community Board 2, parking regulations were updated this morning on Front Street. Instead of street cleaning on Tuesdays from 8:00 to 9:00 AM, it has changed to Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 9:00 AM. This conflicts with the CB2′s report that there will be a reduction of street cleanings. Maybe Front Street is different(?).
(Photo courtesy of dasmart)
October 8th, 2008
(Photo by Josh Derr)
Community Board 2, which serves Dumbo, (as well as Bridge Plaza, Brooklyn Heights, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Fulton Ferry, the Downtown Business District, Metrotech, Atlantic Center, Renaissance Plaza (the Marriott Hotel) and the Brooklyn Navy Yard), voted last night to change alternate side street parking in the entire CB2 area by a vote of 4-1 in favor. An attendee emailed us the general changes as follows:
- Where there is currently “No Parking 8am to 9am”and metered parking thereafter, the revision would have one-half hour window (instead of one hour) between 7am to 9am. This will reduce the time of no parking to one half hour and will begin the no parking at the earlier hour.
- On commercial streets (in the core of the business district) sweeping occurs three times a week on each side during the hours of midnight to 3am. The proposal is to break this into two sessions: midnight to 3am and 3am to 6am.
- A major change will be on residential streets where the frequency would be reduced from two days of sweeping (per side) to one of sweeping per side. Further, in Brooklyn Heights, the sweeping (per side) would take place on one day per week with No Parking in three different sessions: 8:30am to 10am, 9:30am to 11am and 11:30am to 1pm.
This looks like good news for residents who park on the streets. On the other hand, will the reduced number street cleanings be a problem? For residents who park their cars on the street, how do you feel about these proposed changes?
September 1st, 2008
A New York Post article reported Sunday that Darren Stone, aka Squarehead was linked to the recent car break-ins using DNA evidence. The article states:
It turned out that on July 14, Stone allegedly used a rock to smash the window of a couple’s 2007 Jeep Cherokee on Water Street, stealing a child’s car seat and a $300 ring.
While removing the items, Squarehead cut himself and left drops of blood on the car’s back seat and a piece of paper, prosecutors said.
Cops tested the blood for DNA – and finally had their man.
Stone was arrested last Monday and charged with felony criminal mischief. He’s now at Rikers on $25,000 bail.
“Because of his long history, he’s looking at a D felony – that’s 3½ to 7 years – and there’s a possibility that he could do more,” said a spokesman for DA Charles Hynes.
A Dumbo resident whose car was broken into started a blog (waterstreetwindowsmash.blogspot.com) to collect stories and reported the crimes to the 84th Precinct. Soon after, the police increased their patrolling.
A veteran detective said Squarehead began stealing as a teen and never stopped. He earned his nickname for stubbornly keeping at it, even though he gets arrested “constantly,” the detective said.
Despite catching the criminal, several residents continue to report break-ins on early Sunday morning. There were car break-ins on Front Street (between Bridge and Hudson Streets) and several on Water Street. According to officers, they had counted 15 break-ins. If your car has been broken into, call 311 or the 84th Precinct 718-875-6811 so they can record and track the incidents. It is important thing we report everything. The 84th Precinct have been responsive to the resident’s calls, so keep reporting the crimes so all residents in Vinegar Hill, Dumbo, and surrounding areas live in a safer neighborhood.
Photo – A resident reports an incident with the police.