Dumbo is Brooklyn’s Tribeca, both in its character and its heavy concentration of elite wealth and success. Its winding, cobblestoned streets are nestled between towering loft buildings that were all but forgotten until the late 1970’s, when artists began moving in after they were priced out of Tribeca and Soho. Ironically, the name ‘Dumbo’ was coined by those same artists, who hoped that the name would deter developers from entering the neighborhood and increasing its real estate values. (That backfired.)
Dumbo is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. The neighborhood’s traditional boundaries were in between the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge, although today the neighborhood has expanded to include everything north of York Street/Old Fulton Street; west of Bridge Street; and south of the East River. The most prized homes in Dumbo are valued for their jaw-dropping views of the bridges and downtown Manhattan. The views are so incredible that many move to the neighborhood for the views alone, but even though they are incredible, they’re far from the only reason to live here. Boutique shops, one-off restaurants and mom-and-pop cafes line the streets while there is hardly a brand-name chain in sight. Dumbo is a community of individuals in a city that is becoming more homogenized each and every day.
While buyers can consider the area to be an affordable alternative to Tribeca, renters can not. Dumbo is consistently one of the most, if not the most expensive neighborhood for renters in New York. On the plus side: that makes the neighborhood an excellent choice for investors. If you’re looking for an investment property, then we recommend that you ask your broker if finding a property with a J-51 or 421-a tax abatement is a possibility for you so that you can maximize your returns.
Brooklyn’s smallest neighborhood is the historically and architecturally significant Vinegar Hill, which lies just east of Dumbo and is usually included with its larger neighbor in online searches. Instead of large, open-plan lofts, Vinegar Hill is home to 19th-Century Federal Style and Greek Revival townhouses. Its low rise character is a sharp contrast to its neighbor to the west, though its small size (Vinegar Hill stretches from Bridge Street to Little Street, only four mini-blocks) means that it shares all of the same conveniences that Dumbo has to offer. Buyers who choose Vinegar Hill are generally buyers who want to find a single-family home, but who also want to live north of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.