DUMBO is a popular neighborhood in New York located in the northeast of Brooklyn. Right across from lower Manhattan, most of the area comes under the Manhattan bridge, giving it its iconic name.

Most people don’t know that DUMBO is an abbreviation for ‘Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.’ The residents, alongside the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, devised the name after deciding to establish a unique identity for their area in 1978.

Initially, the committee members came up with DUMBO, and DANYA abbreviated ‘District Around the Navy Yard Annex.’ Eventually, they confirmed DUMBO as the perfect name for the area.

Today, the locality attracts hundreds of tourists flocking towards New York City every year, including many wanting to see as many sites as possible like what you can do with a New York Pass. However, DUMBO is simply a neighborhood that costs no money to visit like a museum.

Here are some fun facts about DUMBO that might entice your interest:

Fun Facts About DUMBO

1. DUMBO Is The Location Of The Battle Of Brooklyn

DUMBO is the Location of The Battle of Brooklyn

The Battle of Brooklyn, fought by the patriot army, is the most significant battle that took place during the war for independence. Yet, surprisingly, the area we know as DUMBO is the exact location where the battle occurred back in August 1776.

Initially, Washington’s troops were outnumbered, and the combat seemed quite hopeless for the freedom fighters.

However, under his experienced leadership, Washington instructed his army to retreat towards the East River overnight, saving them from a crushing defeat and gruesome deaths.

2. DUMBO’s Jay Street Connecting Railroad Is The First Of Its Kind

If you’ve ever taken a walk around DUMBO’s locality, you must’ve noticed narrow trolley tracks that resemble the railway tracks. Arbuckle developed these tracks in 1900 to carry cargo trolleys.

Known as Brooklyn’s original coffee kings, the Arbuckle Brothers thought that building the railroad was the ideal way to move cargo through their groups of warehouses on the Brooklyn waterfront.

Slowly, the railroad developed further with multiple terminals to cater to various industries and factories in the area. But, since the advent of trucks as the more accessible transportation vessels, the railroad became abandoned around 1958.

Today, these small tracks remain a reminiscence of DUMBO’s historical heritage. What’s impressive is the fact that the railroad also runs through a few old buildings on the Brooklyn waterfront.

So, if you’re a history buff exploring the area’s historical aspects, a walk across the railroad would make an exciting trip for you.

3. DUMBO Used To Be A Salt Marsh

DUMBO Used to be a Salt Marsh

Throughout its history, New York has seen a gradual increase in its population, which has led to landfilling. This technique helps facilitate new living spaces for the crowds flocking towards the commercial hub.

Most people don’t know that even DUMBO, a hustling location of New York, was initially a salt marsh. Later, the original water line reached the place we know as Water Street today.

The process started back in 1686 when the municipal government sold blocks of underwater land to private owners. These owners built wharves and other infrastructure that pushed the shoreline further into the East River.

However, a focused landfilling project began in the 18th century, which created the places we see today, such as the Empire Stores and Plymouth Streets.

The government established the entire area in around three commercial landfilling procedures. These were carried out between 1796 to 1850.

One of the most exciting facts about DUMBO involves the iconic view from Washington Street, where you can see the Manhattan Bridge towering across the sky. The picturesque view also includes a distant profile of the Empire State Building right under the bridge’s archway.

Today, the location is the ideal photography location for anyone who visits New York City. One look at the image, and most travelers around the world can easily recognize the location.

However, another reason for its popularity is the use of this iconic vantage point to depict New York City itself in popular feature films. The most abundantly-known titles in the list include:

  • The Naked City
  • Serpico
  • American Gangster
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • The Amazing Spider-Man

5. DUMBO Is The Original Location Of The Jacques Torres Chocolate Shop

When it comes to high-quality gourmet chocolate, you can’t consider yourself American unless you’re familiar with Jacques Torres Chocolates. Apart from their hand-crafted artisan chocolates, the place is well-known for other treats like chocolate chip cookies, bonbons, chocolate barks, and hot chocolate.

A trip to New York is not complete without indulging in the shop’s sweet delicacies. But, one of the most popular facts about DUMBO is that it’s the world-renowned chocolatier’s pioneering location.

Today, the shop sells its treats from branches across New York City, but DUMBO is where it all started. You can stock up on sweetmeats or even visit the dedicated museum, take chocolate tours and classes at their primary location.

6. DUMBO Was A Center For Innovation

A paper goods developer in DUMBO, Robert Gair, was the first person to develop a cardboard box. Originally an immigrant from Scotland, Gair started his paper goods industry in downtown Manhattan, where he created the first cardboard box through exciting events.

Resulting from a mistake that caused the tearing of 20,000 paperboard seed bags, Gair had an idea about perforating the paper and creasing it to create boxes. Gair also patented the box-folding machine in DUMBO, from where the cardboard box went viral across the world.

Attributing to its success, Gair built so many buildings across the area that it was partially known as Gairville at the time. Today, most of these buildings are owned by Two Trees.

Similarly, processed coffee beans and refined sugar first made their way across the country through factories and establishments in DUMBO.

7. DUMBO Serves The Best Pizza In The US

DUMBO Serves The Best Pizza In The US

When hunger strikes while exploring New York City, there’s no better solution for it than a delicious slice of New York-style pizza. Luckily, if you’re walking through DUMBO in downtown Manhattan, it has some of the best pizzeria’s in the country.

Juliana’s Pizza has most prominently received critical acclaim as the US’s best pizza place over the last decade. If you can go through the long waiting lines at the entrance, their Marinara, Margherita, and White Pizza are worth a try.

Believe it or not, tourists fly miles across the country to try Juliana’s Special No.1. The popular menu item is a blend of mouth-watering gourmet ingredients, including Scamorza, pancetta, white truffles, and of course, mozzarella.

Another must-visit if you’re looking for lunch in DUMBO is Grimaldi, the ultimate brick-fire pizza location in the area. Locals swear by Juliana’s and Grimaldi’s, and if you haven’t tried one of their slice’s you haven’t had New York-style pizza at all.

8. DUMBO’s Powerhouse Arena Is A World-Class Art And Literature Hub

Initially created as a small publishing house, Powerhouse Books evolved into Powerhouse Arena in DUMBO during the 21st century. The arena helped establish DUMBO as the ultimate venue for art exhibitions, performances, and even book readings.

While the art hub attracts locals and travelers all year round, it brings in famous artists, performers, and authors into New York City.

Some famous authors who have read at the arena include David Sedaris, Joyce Carol Oates, T.C Boyle, Paul Auster, and Salman Rushdie. The phenomenal list also includes Pulitzer Prize Winner Tracy K. Smith, establishing Powerhouse Arena as a must-visit for art enthusiasts.

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