After 20 years of living in Manhattan, we recently moved to America’s third largest city, the borough of Brooklyn (see Biting the Bullet in Brooklyn for more about our Fort Greene ‘hood). In celebration of our move, we are spending a few weeks exploring this diverse borough and learning about all of its fantastic offerings. Here is the third in a series of posts about the various “hoods” of BK. See Let’s Go to Prospect Park for our first post, and A day out in the hipster hub of BK – Williamsburg for our second.
On a warm end of summer afternoon, my teenage girls and I set our sights on Dumbo and Vinegar Hill to continue our Brooklyn discovery. This is the area spanning from beneath the Brooklyn Bridge to beneath the Manhattan Bridge and a little further east toward the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We took the C train to High Street and walked down to Dumbo from Brooklyn Bridge Park. Other ways to travel to Dumbo include following a gorgeous walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, or by water taxi from Manhattan. Both routes are fraught with countless photo ops along the way!
We arrived at High Street in posh Brooklyn Heights and meandered through the tree-lined streets, marveling at the regal pre Civil War brownstones. One of my favorite things about Brooklyn Heights, is the section of fruit streets. Oh, how I would love to live on a street called Pineapple Street! After a stroll through the are, we walked to the promenade for the most picturesque path to Dumbo. The views of Manhattan from this side of BK are breathtaking at any time of day, but if you time it with sunset, they are stupendous. The promenade will lead you right into the western edge of Dumbo and under the Brooklyn Bridge. Here you will be greeted by a converted fireboat house, operating as the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. If you aren’t ready for ice cream yet, try Lizzmonade for a fruit infused lemonade experience instead.
Continuing our trek east through Dumbo we explored the playgrounds (for old times sake), the waterfront (to skip some rocks) , and all the cool shops along Water St. We finished up on the eastern edge of Dumbo in Vinegar Hill and walked back to our neighborhood of Fort Greene by way of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Here are a few highlights:
- Pop into the The Max Family Garden at Saint Ann’s Warehouse, a performing arts space in the middle of the park – or check their performance calendar online to try and catch a show in this super cool warehouse space.
- Time your visit with the popular First Thursdays Dumbo Gallery Walk.
- Take a ride on the beautifully restored Jane’s Carousel
- We could spend hours in the well stocked Powerhouse Arena right under the Manhattan Bridge archway and Water Street.
- Trunk Brooklyn for locally made women’s wear, jewelry, accessories and art is on Jay Street
- Before I had my own kids shop in Tribeca (Torly Kid), we never went to Dumbo without stopping into Half Pint Citizens for the little ones.
- Jacques Torres Chocolate – because frozen hot chocolate
- Superfine – because the menu changes daily according to what’s available
- River Cafe – for the views
- Grimaldi’s – for the pizza (duh!)
The Perfect Day in Dumbo with little ones: a perfect day when my kids were smaller was one where we would take the water taxi across the river from Manhattan (Tribeca), play in the Main Street playground, head to Grimaldi’s for pizza lunch and finish up at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory before taking the ferry back to Tribeca. Today, there are many more playgrounds in Brooklyn Bridge Park and enough activities going on to entertain the kids there for an entire day but we like the short and sweet aspect of this adventure for younger kids.