(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!