The story goes that the residents of Dumbo chose the neighborhood’s name (an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in an effort to keep developers away. Their logic: Who would want to spend any time in a place with such a ridiculous name? Well, Dumbo by any other name would still be a waterfront community that boasts public art, nightlife, great food and unique architecture. Here’s how to spend a perfect day in the cobblestone-lined nabe.
How to Spend the Best Day Ever in Dumbo
Start your day with an early morning yoga class. We love Abhaya Yoga’s cozy studio and highly skilled staff, who will make you feel like you’re part of the community. If you find yourself in Dumbo on a Tuesday, take your sun salutations outdoors and join Sputnik Yoga for a donation-based practice on the Empire Stores rooftop (weather permitting).
Abhaya: 32 Pearl St. (at Plymouth St.) • Empire Stores: 53-83 Water St. (between Main and Dock sts.)
Gawk At Street Art
DUMBO Walls is a public art exhibition featuring international artists who have transformed many of the neighborhood's brick walls into colorful masterpieces. Larger-than-life works by DALeast, Eltono, MOMO and Yuko Shimizu are displayed on the sides of buildings and under overpasses throughout the neighborhood but most are clustered around Jay Street under the Manhattan Bridge.
York St. (between Washington and Pearl sts.)
Fuel Up On Creative, Picnic-friendly Eats
The cool younger sibling of the neighborhood mainstay Vinegar Hill House, VHH Foods offers a limited but tasty menu that includes creative pastries and more substantial items like gluten-free breakfast tacos, avocado toast, kale and leek quiche and ready-made salads. You’ll also find elevated coffee concoctions, like one with egg cream, vanilla and Aleppo pepper. Oh, and everything is available to go, so mentally bookmark that for warmer days.
55 Water St. (at Main St.)
Pick Up Healing Stones
Emerald Gem Exchange is, well, a neighborhood gem, especially if you’re looking to hop on the crystal train. The shop carries a curated collection of jade, gemstones, Feng Shui products, organic jewelry and other one-of-a-kind home decor items from Southeast Asia, all chosen for their healing abilities. Don’t know where to start? The shop’s owner, Siva, will happily enlighten you.
145 Front St. (between Pearl and Jay sts.)
Join Your Squad
The Wing just opened its millennial-pink doors in the neighborhood and we’re ready to join—unfortunately so are the other 13,000 women currently on the wait-list for a membership. In the meantime, we’ll settle for a tour at the gorgeous new space. (That color-coordinated book wall, though.)
1 Main St. (at Plymouth St.)
Take A Selfie At That Spot
You know the one.
Intersection of Washington St. and Water St.
Feel Like A Kid
If the name doesn’t make it obvious, Beat the Bomb is a game where you try to defuse a paint bomb in one hour or get splattered with neon colors. Players wear hazmat suits and use logic, speed, teamwork and tenacity to defeat the “security system.” It’s like an Escape Room meets the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards (in other words, it sounds amazing).
247 Water St., Suite 106; beatthebomb.com
Enjoy Dinner With A View
Dumbo’s waterfront dining scene has really stepped up its game lately, and Celestine is the latest addition. The floor-to-ceiling windows allow for some insane views of Manhattan—not that you'll notice because you'll be too busy ogling the colorful pan-Mediterranean food, like roasted cauliflower, prepared in the wood-burning oven and drizzled with brown butter and lemon, and the tender harissa-braised beef cheeks with latkes, fig and farmer’s cheese.
1 John St. (at Pearl St.)
Have A Cocktail By The Water
We have a thing for gorgeous hotels, and the lobby of the recently opened 1 Brooklyn Bridge Hotel, with its inspiring seasonal cocktail menu, shareable charcuterie plate and to-die-for bruschetta creations, is quickly becoming one of our favorites. (We’re also marking our calendar for when the rooftop reopens in April.) And since you’re not going to want to leave after your day here, you might as well book a room—some of them have hammocks, people.
60 Furman St. (at Doughty St.)