Tucked against the East River, under the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, Dumbo has become one of Brooklyn’s premier destinations for restaurants, shopping, and sightseeing. It’s a great neighborhood to explore with kids, and a perfect place to celebrate Mother’s Day. (You didn’t forget, did you?)
What to do
BKLYN Designs, an exhibition of Brooklyn’s best furniture designers and manufacturers, is running at St. Ann’s Warehouse and other locations throughout Dumbo the weekend of May 9-11. With 60 designers showcasing furniture, lighting, and home accessories picked by an international panel of judges, it’s the biggest BKLYN Designs ever and promises to be an aesthetic feast.
After a walk through the show, head over to the Mark Jupiter showroom, to see even more of the magic this DUMBO designer works on reclaimed wood. If the kids need a moment to decompress from all those angles, curves, and fine furniture, take a stroll to Jane’s Carousel, the gorgeous, restored carousel near the top of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Tickets are $2, kids under age 3 ride free with an adult, and this is family photo-op heaven.
On Sunday, May 11, the Made in NY Media Center is screening Between the Folds, a documentary about origami to go along with BKLYN Designs. The free show starts at 1:30pm and is followed by an origami workshop with master paper folder Sok Song.
Mother’s Day is the biggest brunch day of the year, and DUMBO has a few great options. To go luxe, head to Atrium and its menu of French-inspired dishes made with local ingredients. (Oh, and fantastic cocktails.) Vinegar Hill House, just up the hill from Dumbo, is tiny, cozy and homey, with a lovely backyard in good weather. And, if you can’t stomach the crowds, pop into Almondine Bakery or Foragers Market and get some sandwiches and drinks for a picnic in the park. (The weather is supposed to be beautiful on Sunday. Fingers crossed!)
For a little post-brunch browsing, hit powerHouse Arena, which is also a publisher of fascinating titles and an events space, or P.S. Bookshop. Zoe carries designer clothing, bags, jewelry and accessories, and is the spot for a major splurge. Trunk specializes in indie designers with a cool, bohemian feel, and lots of Brooklyn-made items. And West Elm Market is a treasure trove of artisan goodies, gardening gear, natural soaps and lotions and other fun items made by small producers around the country.
For a pick-me-up, grab a coffee at La Colombe Café in the back of West Elm Market, or head to Brooklyn Coffee Roasters. As the name suggests, they roast their beans right here in Brooklyn, in a super eco-friendly facility. Their cool metal canisters of coffee beans also make great gifts and souvenirs.
One More Treat
DUMBO has more good bakeries than one neighborhood really should. One Girl Cookies sells an astounding assortment of tiny, perfect cookies. The Juliette — chocolate cinnamon ganache between two hazelnut cookies — is a standout, as are their pumpkin whoopie pies. Almondine Bakery offers a full complement of classic French pastries, including eclairs, croissants and intricately layered cakes and tarts. For chocolate lovers though, the only option is to duck into Jacques Torres. The chocolatier’s shop is full of seasonal candies, truffles, deeply chocolatey cookies, confections like almond bark and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, and they serve the richest, creamiest hot chocolate in the city.
Brooklyn Bridge Park starts in DUMBO, and the massive waterfront development is a work in progress. With waterfront picnic areas, sweeping lawns, amazing views of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, it’s worth a serious stroll — or nap on the grass in warm weather.