Sunday, January 24, 2016

Walking in the City - DUMBO and Downtown Brooklyn

Up until now most of my walks in New York City have centered on Manhattan, but I'm well aware that there is plenty of interest to check out in the other city boroughs too. With that in mind, a walk organised by Shorewalkers last year, to take in the street art in DUMBO (Down under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), Downtown and Brooklyn Bridge Park, seemed a good introduction to the area. 

Our first stop in DUMBO was a photography exhibition by seven different artists called Personal Mythologies which had been mounted on a fence surrounding a construction site under the Manhattan Bridge. 

All of the work is excellent, but I thought this work by Klaus Enrique of a human head rendered in fruit and vegetables particularly clever. 

Artist: Klaus Enrique

Elsewhere, in DUMBO, huge murals enliven once dreary walls, especially those in underpasses. Our walk took us through the Pearl Street Underpass and past this work by Faith47:

Our next stop was the MetroTech Center. According to Wikipedia it is the nation's largest urban academic-industrial research park. Despite being very modern and predominately glass and concrete, the area has a pleasant feel to it. There is no traffic to worry about as the area is a pedestrian zone and includes the MetroTech Commons, a private plaza which is open to the public and also used for events such as concerts, fairs and art exhibits. 

The plaza is host to some permanent exhibits. This one by Tom Otterness was a big attraction:

By Tom Otterness
At one point we thought someone had lost their guide dog. Closer inspection revealed it was also actually a statue! 

From the MetroTech Center we headed south along Flatbush Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares in Brooklyn, until the junction with Atlantic Avenue, at which point it was time to turn westwards back towards the East River. Atlantic Avenue seemed to be lined with one enticing restaurant after another - I think I need to go back and check some of them out. If I hadn't been with a group, I would have definitely taken a closer look at this one:
Further on down the road, another underpass has been given a face-lift, this time by Groundswell, a collaborative community art group which uses art to encourage social change.

Atlantic Avenue ends at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, a 1.3 mile waterfront park which runs along the East River shoreline. Work is still ongoing in turning once derelict piers into a huge recreational area, but it is already a very pleasant place to walk, offering wonderful views of Manhattan.  


And if you need to take a rest from all the exertion, there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the view:

 There's even a little beach - though no swimming or wading is allowed.

Or a maze of mirrors for a little fun:

The path through the park leads back to the Brooklyn Bridge, but not before passing a 1922 fireboat house which now houses the Brooklyn Ice-cream Factory

 It seemed as if I was the only one of the group who'd never heard of it before - so, of course, I had to sample their product. Needless to say, I wasn't the only one who indulged. It was very good ice-cream, if a little on the large side! Still, we needed to fortify ourselves for the walk back over the bridge to Manhattan. 

view from the bridge

Looking at a map later, I discovered how little of Brooklyn we had actually covered in the walk. From where I live, north of the city, it's not the easiest place to get to, which is why I've tended to avoid it but after this walk, and my recent trip  to Dyker Heights, I will definitely be making an effort to get out and explore some of the other attractions of Brooklyn come Spring.   


  1. Nice walk Mel. I always wanted to walk over the bridge, kuddos to you. Brooklyn is huge with many old neighborhoods and tons of history. My daughter lived there for a spell and she enjoyed the eclectic feel. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Elisabeth, thanks for dropping by. There is definitely a different feeling to Brooklyn than Manhattan - and having started to explore, I'm keen to do more there. It's all too easy to think of Manhattan as New York City (I'm sure many tourists do) and forget the other four boroughs. One thing for sure - I'm not going to run out of new places to visit!