Uncubed

All you need to know about DUMBO's tech sector

The Wakefield Guide: DUMBO Startups

Before DUMBO became the epicenter of the NYC tech boom, the Brooklyn neighborhood was largely the domain of artists, attracted by the cheap, big loft spaces and the otherwise-vanished sense of “old New York”.

Today, most of the urban grit is gone – hell, a massive antique carousel has been assembled on the waterfront – but those sprawling spaces and stunning views remain.

And with the recent sale of five warehouses that once housed the Jehovah’s Witnesses HQ, opening up 1.2 million square feet of retail and office space (they’re calling it Dumbo Heights), the area is about to experience a second renaissance of sorts.

So what better time to make yourself an expert in all things under the Manhattan Bridge overpass? We’ve assembled the best places to eat, drink, and work, in the neighborhood to get you started.

Please note this is a living document, like the Constitution. If you want to make a suggestion, make a correction, or amend your startup, coffeeshop, or coworking space to the list, get in touch.


icon Explore the neighborhood

icon A Little History


It’s all thanks to the cardboard box. In 1890 the Scottish emigrant Robert Gair invented the paperboard folding carton on 55 Washington Street (now the home of Etsy), and began transforming the area into a manufacturing district. Brillo pads, heavy machinery, and cardboard boxes were all made in the area, known variously as Olympia, Fulton Landing, and Gairville.

 

When New York City went all Midnight Cowboy in the 60s and 70s, rapid deindustrialization left many of the area’s massive warehouses and factories abandoned. Then-Mayor John Lindsay’s solution was the Artists-in-Residence program, allowed “Certified Artists” to live and work on the top floors of many of the buildings for next to nothing.

 

In 1978, as developers eyed the neighborhood, a group of local artists decided to call the region DUMBO (though DANYA, District Around the Navy Yard Annex, was also a contender). “Who, after all, would spend a million dollars for a loft in a place called DUMBO?” co-namer Crane Davis mused.

 

A lot of people, it turns out. Today, the median sale price of a DUMBO apartment is $1.5 million.

icon Where to Meet

Be it over a slice, a burrito, a glass of wine or a coffee, there are options aplenty for meeting with friends and colleagues in DUMBO. Let’s take a look at some of the neighborhood’s most popular spots.


Food
Gran Electrica

Gran Electrica

5 Front Street

Nestled right next to the Brooklyn Bridge, Gran Electrica's authentic Mexican fare is a neighborhood favorite. Come summertime, the outdoor patio is a must.

Superfine

Superfine

126 Front Street

Superfine serves seasonal, organic dishes and boasts a great happy hour on weeknights along with a southwestern live music brunch on Sundays.

Julianas Pizza

Juliana's Pizza

19 Old Fulton Street

There may be nobody New Yorkers trust more with pizza than Patsy Grimaldi, and he and his wife Carol returned to location of the original Grimaldi's to open Juliana's. The signature pie? Margherita, of course.


Almar

AlMar Dumbo

111 Front Street

An authentic Italian sit-down dinner favorite, AlMar Dumbo also offers affordable lunch options, primarily paninis and salads.

Atrium

Atrium DUMBO

15 Main Street

Yes, Atrium DUMBO is in an atrium (and in Dumbo). Gorgeous interior design aside, Atrium DUMBO offers high end, fresh cuisine.

Pedros

Pedro's

73 Jay Street

You can't miss Pedro's – its graffiti art adorned exterior is a sight to behold. Inside, you'll find classic Mexican fare and drinks strong enough to make you see some colors of your own.

Dumbo Kitchen

Dumbo Kitchen

108 Jay Street

You'll find sandwiches and pizza at Dumbo Kitchen, but their catering and event space offerings make this the go-to choice for large parties.

La Bagel Delight

La Bagel Delight

104 Front Street

The Park Slope mainstay has opened up another spot by the bridge. The bagels are naturally La Bagel Delight's calling card, but their hot lunch specials keep the place packed well after lox time.

Booze
68 Jay Street

68 Jay Street Bar

68 Jay Street

At least they won't be hard to find. 68 Jay Street Bar attracts the post-work bunch with a 4 to 7 happy hour, and hosts live music performances on Saturdays.

Olympia Wine Bar

Olympia Wine Bar

54 Jay Street

Pining for a Pinot Noir? Olympia Wine Bar beckons fine wine enthusiasts and other imbibers alike looking for cozy environs, as they serve beers and cocktails as well.

The Bridges

The Bridges

66 Water Street

Who says a bar with the game on is a bar where your eating options end at chicken wings? The Bridges bridges the gap between culinary heft and sports bar entertainment.

Coffee & Sweets
Almondine

Almondine Bakery

85 Water Street

You'll find Dumbo's best baguettes at Almondine – and the rest of their baked goods are nothing to sneeze at, either.

Jacques Torres

Jacques Torres Chocolate

66 Water Street

Sweet toothed readers, beware. The original Jacques Torres location is in Dumbo, and, as always, the hot chocolate beckons.

One Girl Cookies

One Girl Cookies

33 Main Street

Having recently celebrated three years in Dumbo, One Girl Cookies offers mouth watering cupcakes, cakes, and – unbelievably – cookies.

Brooklyn Roasting Company

Brooklyn Roasting Company

25 Jay Street

Right in the heart of the Jay Street corridor, Brooklyn Roasting Company's specialty coffee, open space, productivity-friendly music, and wifi make it well worth the trip.

West Elm Market

50 Washington Street

West Elm Market's best known for its furniture and home décor, but it also just might be the Dumbo's preferred coffee resource.

icon What to Know

DUMBO is hardly the real estate bargain it once was – in fact rents are among the highest in the city. But that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach – there are a wealth of opportunities to work, and play, in the hood.

Digital Dumbo

Digital DUMBO has produced live events and experiences to connect companies with their communities since their founding in 2009. Get on their list.

Green Desk

The first major coworking space in DUMBO, Green Desk offers desks and proper office space in two prime locations.

Studiomates 

Founded by Tina “Swiss Miss” Roth Eisenberg is an exclusive space for creative and tech types to work together or alone.

Made in NY Media Center by IFP

A very wordy, albeit very cool,  coworking space focused on film, gaming, and tech. They’ve also got a cafe if you just want to check it out.

DUMBO Startup Lab

A community hub for workspace and classes, the Startup Lab offers flexible membership options and killer views.

WeWork DUMBO

You can’t tell us you’re surprised that there’s a WeWork location here, are you?

icon Where to Work

The bulk of DUMBO’s startup and tech scene is concentrated in just a few former warehouses along Jay Street, Main Street, and Water Street, though with the imminent arrival of DUMBO Heights, all of that’s about to change. For now, have a look at some of the neighborhood’s biggest startups.


20 Jay Street

45 Main Street

68 Jay Street

155 Water Street

10 Jay Street

Elsewhere