It’s worth a visit to DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass,) on a sunny day, and not just because it’s at the other end of a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge. This one-time industrial neighborhood boasts Brooklyn Bridge Park and the most breathtaking views of the Lower Manhattan skyline you can find anywhere. All this and excellent food and shopping, too.
Outdoor Fun With a View
Soak up the sun walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and stop by the Brooklyn Bridge Park (Plymouth St., btw New Dock & Adams sts.). You can also get to DUMBO by taking the East River Ferry from East 34th Street for an even more leisurely and scenic experience. The waterfront area offers a grassy lawn for picnics, concession stands, a playground and outdoor event spaces. Don’t leave without taking a ride on Jane’s Carousel, a historic attraction with 48 carved wooden horses and two chariots that have been painstakingly restored by hand to their 1922 elegance.
Pier two is dedicated to active recreation and features a variety of activities and attractions including a roller rink, shuffleboard, Bocce courts and basketball courts. A wide promenade wraps around the pier, offering magnificent views of the New York Harbor. Restrooms, lockers, water fountains/bottle refilling stations, picnic tables and bike racks are also available on site. The pier and all facilities are fully ADA accessible. Lights are on for evening play until 11 pm.
Grab a Quick Snack
As lines wrapping around the block can attest, the pizza at Grimaldi’s is the stuff of legends. Inside scoop: Rival Juliana’s doesn’t have the lines, but the pizza there is considered better by those in the know. If you have a sweet tooth you can't miss the legendary Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory serving up small-batch ice cream made in-house and scooped in a converted 1922 fireboat house with Manhattan skyline views; cash only.
DUMBO is home to a vibrant mix of small, well-curated retail establishments. The newest addition to the landscape along the waterfront in the restored Civil War-era is Empire Stores complex, packed with almost 100 different shops and services including west elm MARKET, a spin-off of the furniture chain, houses a laid-back coffee shop and an array of hard-to-resist, locally made products. For killer book recommendations for adults and kids, The POWERHOUSE Arena has a busy calendar of in-store readings and panels with popular writers. Finally, for men’s clothing and home goods, Modern Anthology is a great place to spend 20 minutes poking around.
If you’re looking for even more variety, check out the world-famous Brooklyn Flea Market, featuring 75 vendors of vintage, handmade, antique and food items.
Girly girls and tomboys alike can score stylish finds at EHVonnae (145 Front St., btw Pearl & Jay sts., 718.310.3686), a cozy boutique with a curated selection of fashion-forward apparel, trendy footwear, statement accessories, hip sunglasses and beauty products.
Heart of Art
DUMBO’s art community struts its stuff in a restored factory that boasts a post-industrial feel. The exhibition spaces at 111 Front Street Galleries (111 Front St., btw Adams & Washington sts.) showcase ever-changing displays of multimedia works from both local and international names, along with artists-in-residence.
A Taste of Miami in Brooklyn
After a long day of shopping and seeing the sights, kick back and relax at Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill, the newest addition to DUMBO's culinary scene with globally inspired small plates from three kitchens—an open fire grill, raw bar and traditional kitchen—overseen by award-winning Chef Partner Timon Balloo. Offering new twists on Miami classics like a beet mojito, indulgent dishes like a foie gras fried rice and fun twists on brunch items including duck and waffles. Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill has been a mainstay on Eater’s famed Heatmaps including “The Hottest Restaurants in Brooklyn.”