Anyone living in DUMBO knows that life is always in fast motion. You are always moving, from CitiBike trips to subway trips. So naturally, the morning beings with the ultimate excising experience at iMAXShift. The cycling specialists have infused iMAX screens with your spinning classes. The videos are timed to your workouts and are aimed to simulate a virtual experience like riding down a roller coaster track or riding in outer space. No matter what is playing, you are sure to be exhilarated and wide-eyed in no time.
Now that your body is awake and stomach satisfied, you’ll have time and energy to stroll around the city’s most cherished destinations in Empire - Fulton Ferry State Park. The mornings are quiet, making this the best time of the day to visit. The views are downright spectacular: famed panoramic scenery of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. As you walk, you’ll discover a historical/artist exhibit right on the boardwalk chronicling the history of DUMBO in words and photos. On the other side of the waterside complex, there’s Brooklyn Bridge Park and a famed little stone beach that offers seating for you to read. There’s also a brand new, interactive, state-of-the-art DUMBO sign that will introduce you to everything from the local weather to traffic.
Aside from history, the star in DUMBO are its magical views, considered the best in the city. The most famous spot is just a few blocks south of Jane’s Carousel. You make your way to the cross-section of Water and Washington Streets. You turn onto Washington and you turn into a host for goose bumps (or “goose bumples” if you happen to have a 3-year-old in tow.) You notice the cobblestone roads and refurbished warehouses that complement the view of the Manhattan Bridge sprawling into the neighborhood. The view is probably the most iconic world-wide. Now it’s time to savor the flavors of the area!
The shopping and business scene in DUMBO is quite sizzling. There’s Brooklyn Industries and the gigantic West Elm storefronts. There’s also Etsy, the online, customized shopping king that is headquartered here. But take a different route to picking out your style. In DUMBO you need to look good. And Rodd & Gunn, formerly NOS Boutique, offers sleek, trendy and affordable fashion options — like Mackage jacket or Corso Como Chester boots. Take your time to look through and you’re sure to find something that fits your personality without breaking the bank.
It is time to unwind. And when you have an apartment right by the waterfront, you also plentiful opportunities to have some drinks, well, on the water. Don’t miss a chance to get on Bargemusic to get your night going. The floating venue features world class classical ensembles on a 100-foot barge that was built in 1889. If you come at the right time (Saturday at 4 pm) you could get aboard for free (otherwise, the entrance fee is in the neighborhood of $35). But regardless of the time, the intimacy of the experience makes Bargemusic a perfect first-date choice.
The lines anywhere in DUMBO tend to be long, especially when it comes to good coffee and food. Take your first meal of the day at Bread & Spread. The quaint but sparkling little coffee shop offers freshly brewed coffee/tea concoctions. They also offer tasty breakfast sandwiches and baked goods. In fact, many that have come here often say they have the BEST breakfast sandwiches in the city. Bread & Spread keep it simple, whipping up some excellent egg whites, adorned with bacon, and spruced up with arugula, white cheddar and salsa verde on a whole grain bun. The secret gem, however, is a lunch item: the porcetta sandwich. Make time to come back later in the day!
As you finish your tour around the dueling parks, you make your way back to heart of the boardwalk and channel your inner child. You pay for a ride on Jane’s Carousel, originally built in 1922. The ride is all about history: the 48-horse carousel was first part of the Idora Park Amusement Park in Youngstown, OH, and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Place in 1975. After the parked closed in 1984, the carousel was transported to Brooklyn, where it was refurbished and officially unveiled in 2011. In a word? Timeless. OK, also, spectacular.
In DUMBO, there are so many gourmet options that tourists and NYC residents salivate over. The decision is a tough one as you have great bites at Shake Shack (with customized DUMBO milkshakes) and gourmet grub at Superfine. But the winner is Grimaldi’s. The long-time, coal-fired pizza kings originally were two storefronts north (currently occupied by Juliana’s), opened in their current digs when the original owner (Patsy Grimaldi) came out of retirement. No matter the location, the pizza is that good. Forget the other locations, this is the original and the best in the city.
After finding your next power outfit, you’re craving something more vintage. And Front General Store offers pretty much everything from leather hats to old-school drinking glass to vintage maps to vinyl to old-fashioned sun glasses. The store is an immaculate incarnation of a “thrift store,” more organized to be something out of West Elm but still offering you a chance to find that perfect porkpie hat. There’s so much more to dig through here… so don’t rush.
The dining in DUMBO isn’t as varied and vast as in other Brooklyn nabes. But the quality of the food is sublime. There are places like the charming Gran Electrica and waterfront dining at the famed River Cafe. The winner for today’s quest is Atrium DUMBO. The contemporary American fare features a new age open kitchen and nouveau décor… such as a wall of potted plants. The food is divine, with braised pork belly to start and roasted chicken (accompanied with an out-of-this-world yogurt and pine garnish) to finish.
You have rushed out of dinner to make your show at St. Ann’s and now you are craving something sweet. You will have a problem deciding, because there are at least three choices that are to die for. Not too keen on decisions, you decide to go for all of them. You stop first to grab some soft serve, homemade ice cream at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, occupying one of the oldest buildings in the area. Then, you make a quick stop to grab some homemade treats at Jacques Torres Chocolate (hint, hint: best chocolatier in NYC!) and finish your sugar rush tour at One Girl Cookies, which offers the freshest homemade cookies you will ever taste. How’s that for decisions?
There’s a brand new performing arts scene rising in DUMBO. The atmosphere at St. Ann’s Warehouse has been rivaling stage shows at BAM, and even Broadway. The theater group rose to fame among musicians and actors at its former location in Brooklyn Heights (at the former Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity on Montague). In the past, David Bowie, Nick Cave, John Slattery and Philip Seymour Hoffman have graced the stage at St. Ann’s. The newly-minted warehouse (1,500 capacity) has taken the borough by storm and today you are here to see a version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
With all that sugar in our veins, it is time to simmer down and grab some cocktails. The craft drinks and craft beers at 68th Jay Street Bar are the best in DUMBO. But, surprisingly, this rustic dive bar also carries a very unpretentious, no frills atmosphere. You grab a can of ice cold Narragansett Lager and kick back to some live local bands. You are now truly (D)own (U)nder the (M)anhattan (B)ridge (O)verpass.