Left: The Empire Stores in 1935, by Berenice Abbott, via New York Public Library. Right: Rendering of Empire Stores courtyard.
Empire Stores is the latest in a series of projects that have been turning the Dumbo waterfront into an attraction for both locals and tourists. Opening out onto the ever-evolving Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Empire Stores complex will be a 500,000-square-foot shopping and office complex with a projected opening date of the summer of 2016.
It’s not going to be a typical shopping center, though. It’s location in Brooklyn Bridge Park, so close to the Brooklyn Bridge and the Fulton Ferry Landing will make it a must-see stop for tourists visiting Brooklyn. Empire Stores will feature some of the best views in the city, especially from its rooftop beer garden, and a dedicated museum space, curated by Brooklyn Historical Society, will showcase the story of this historic building, as well Dumbo’s journey from a waterfront hub of industry to Brooklyn’s center for design and technology.
The complex, constructed inside a 19th-century warehouse that stood vacant since 1945, will include such destinations as the prestigious Vinegar Hill House restaurant, home furnishing store West Elm, watch and apparel company Shinola. There will also be space for local artists to display their works.
Clockwise from upper left: Details of works by grant winners Chitra Ganesh, Jeanine Oleson, Marc Dennis, Gabriele Evertz, Peter Drake, and Blane De St. Croix.
Dumbo has come a long way from its 1970s days, when its industrial lofts attracted artists looking for more space and cheaper rents. Now the neighborhood is a hub for tech and design firms, and its luxe apartments with their views of the New York skyline command rents that make much of Manhattan look inexpensive by comparison.
Rising rents have a tendency to send artists scurrying, and Two Trees Management, the real estate firm that helped make the neighborhood what it is today, knows that better than anyone. Two Trees was there at the beginning, and with their Cultural Space Subsidy Program, they are determined to make sure art still has a home in Dumbo.
According to an article in the Observer, Two Trees has selected nine artists to receive subsidy grants for below-market workspaces in Dumbo, as well as the pioneering New York nonprofit arts organization Art in General. (more…)
Brooklyn shed its “little brother” complex with Manhattan long ago, but you have to admit that one of the best sights in the borough is the view of the Manhattan skyline from across the bustling East River.
Located immediately to the south of the Brooklyn Bridge, Pierhouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park offers unobstructed views of lower Manhattan, Governors Island, and the Statue of Liberty. Pierhouse sits at the intersection of Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights, situated in the stunning landscape of Brooklyn Bridge Park and within walking distance of some of Brooklyn’s most popular attractions, including The River Café, St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and the bridge itself.
And then there’s the building itself. Every residential unit is a duplex that faces Brooklyn Bridge Park and Manhattan, with views to the west and the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood to the east. Limestone-clad piers frame the western façade, while playfully tinted panels on the east façade riff off of the colors of Brownstone Brooklyn. The rooftop is made up of private, paved patios interspersed with native grasses and shrubs.
With 18-foot ceilings in most living rooms, wood floors made from reclaimed heart pine, water and energy efficient design, and automatic roller shades, Pierhouse is as forward-looking as it is stylish. (more…)
It’s a sight every Dumbonian is used to by now: dozens of tourists literally lining up in the middle of Washington Street to snap a shot of the Manhattan Bridge, perfectly framed between the buildings of Dumbo.
A recent cartoon by Brooklyn Cartoons recreates the iconic image, jammed with camera phone–toting tourists.
“Okay, we’ve seen Brooklyn,” one of them says. “What’s next?” You can almost see them rushing to head back to Manhattan, or to get in line at Grimaldi’s. (more…)
Siobhan O’Loughlin of Broken Bone Bathtub. Photo by Jason Speakman.
In October of 2014, Brooklyn playwright and performer Siobhan O’Loughlin embarked on an unusual tour of New York City. Her arm was in a cast following a head-on collision with another cyclist that resulted in two broken fingers, and she didn’t want to risk getting it wet in the shower. Her small Brooklyn bathroom, however, didn’t have a bathtub.
Using social media, the Bushwick native called on friends and acquaintances to let her use their bathtubs, never bathing twice in the same place so as not to overly inconvenience any one person. People across Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens opened their homes to her. Some even provided candles, bubble bath, and chocolates.
The kindness she experienced in a time of need inspired her latest performance piece, Broken Bone Bathtub, where an intimate audience of six to eight people joins her in a bathroom as she takes a bath and shares her story. After sold out shows in the UK, Japan, and across the U.S., Broken Bone Bathtub has come to New York, with dozens of performances across the city, including two dates in DUMBO on January 13 and 20, at 7 and 9 p.m. You can buy tickets — which are going fast — here.
Every year, you approach the new year with a laundry list of things you want to improve. Lose weight. Eat healthier. Make smarter decisions with your money.
For that last one, there’s one simple thing you can do right away. In a matter of minutes, and for less money than you might expect (about 75 cents a day), you can insure your apartment and everything in it.
After all, no one knows what the new year will bring. While it’s natural to make plans for a better job, exotic travel, and maybe even a new romance, surprisingly few people take steps to plan for the kind of things that could derail their whole year — be it a break-in, a kitchen fire, or the upstairs neighbors leaving their bathtub running. Renters insurance from Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc. can make sure that an unforeseen event doesn’t cause you to lose everything you’ve worked so hard for. (more…)