Dumbo is one of the most fashionable and in-demand neighborhoods in the whole of New York, and has been representative of the cultural, economic and demographic shifts in Brooklyn over the years. The name Dumbo is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, and that’s exactly where you’ll find it: On Brooklyn’s shoreline facing Manhattan, next to Brooklyn Bridge.
The area was once completely industrial with few residents, but now the cobbled streets and fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline draw in swathes of visitors and residents each year. The neighborhood has also developed a reputation as being the most popular among the tech industry in Brooklyn.
Some of New York’s biggest names in technology are based in Dumbo, including Etsy, the e-commerce website focused on arts and crafts and vintage items. Etsy recently moved to Dumbo Heights, a 1.4 million square foot complex still being developed. The complex also houses a WeWork coworking office, and when it’s completed, it will be home to 953,000 square feet of office space, 80,000 square feet of retail, and a hotel.
Other startups based in Dumbo include Mouth Foods, the indie food and drink producer, education-tech startup Amplify, and brand company Red Antler.
There are also incubators, co-working spaces, and educational institutions in the neighborhood. Though the Dumbo Startup Lab closed down, the NYU Digital Future Lab is still going strong and is home to hardware and digital media companies. Aside from WeWork in Dumbo Heights, Green Desk and Kongo provide alternative co-working options for those looking to start out without the outlay of a permanent office.
The days of cheaper rents over the river in Brooklyn are over, and Dumbo will be as expensive as most Manhattan locations for startups now. But the area does provide an advantage to startups looking to attract young and creative talent. As personal rents in Manhattan have skyrocketed, huge numbers of young workers have moved further and further out in Brooklyn. By basing themselves in Dumbo, startups can remove the need for these employees to make the trek all the way to Manhattan. The A, C, and F trains all stop in the neighborhood, making it very accessible from anywhere on the subway system.
With its ideal location, a short but substantial heritage of hosting tech startups, and trendiness, Dumbo will likely continue to be a prominent technology neighborhood for the foreseeable future.