Feb 27, 2005

down under the manhattan bridge overpass

When I first moved to NY I really didn't have a good idea of where I wanted to live. I ended up finding a nice apartment in an area of Brooklyn called Dumbo. To understand where it got it's name from you have to understand how other areas in NY are named. Take Tribeca (TRIangle BEneath CAnal street) or Soho (SOuth of HOuston street) or Nolita (NOrth of Little ITAly). Area names are usually contractions. Go ahead and read the title of this post again.

I didn't realize how lucky I got in choosing this place. It really is one of the best areas I could have chosen. First off we are obviously under the Manhattan Bridge. But the Brooklyn Bridge straddles us on the other side (Dubbo isn't as catchy a name). Both these bridges are beautfiul. When my wife take a walk we take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge which has to offer one of the most beautiful views of the city. Here is a great shot of both bridges. Nestled in between is Dumbo. If you look closely you can see people walking along the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge (the lower bridge).

Second of all we are clearly close to the water. 2 blocks to be exact. There is a beautfiul park down by the water and some of the best land views of NY to boot. It certainly seems like I should be paying a higher rent for that luxury.

Kitty corner from me is Gleason's Gym. when I moved here that name rang a bell but I couldn't place it. Last week in the NY Times was an article about Gleason's. Hillary Swank trained there for Million Dollar Baby. So that sparked my interest and I did a little research. Here is who trained there:
- Muhammad Ali for most of his career
- Joe Frazier when Ali wasn't there
- Jake LaMotta (aka Raging Bull) for 3 years
- Charles Liston (better known as Sonny) for 4
- Thomas Hearns for 2
- Roy Jones Jr for 4
- Marvin Hagler for 8
- Rocky Graziano for 2
- Floyd Patterson for 5
- Michael Spinks for 7
- Riddick Bowe for 3
- Larry Holmes for 3
- George Foreman for 2
- Mike Tyson for 6
- Pernell Whittaker, Sugar Ray Leonard, Cesar Chavez, Hector Sanchez

2 blocks from us is one of the most famous chocolatiers - Jacques Torres. If you've been to Starbucks and seen the Chantico drink, this was inspired by Jacques. His is better though because he makes a spicy version.

I've mentioned before that my favorite pizza place is here - Grimaldi's. This is without a doubt the best piece of pizza I've ever had. I suspect when we eventually move from here I won't be able to stand eating pizza.

Before it got yuppified, Dumbo was largely an artist hangout. When Soho gentrified many moved next door to Nolita. But even that is a pricey neighborhood and so most moved to Dumbo. People like Interpol and many hip hop and electronic artists are stationed here. One of my favorite collectives is down the street too - Superflat. Check out the airplane picture in that link - it is made entirely of polarioid pictures shot of a real plane and taped together to form a 'crashed' version. It is still an artists hangout. Just today in Almondine (Jacques pastry store) I was listening to a couple talking about the composition of a painting on the wall and how the artist attained the particular color of green used in the painting. This aspect of Dumbo gives it the most character.

We have a small balcony on our apartment. If you look down to the water you see this image. I've seen this picture in numerous places but I don't know much about who took it or what the backstory is to it. But when I walk out my front door every morning I always look to the right to see the view.

In addition to that it seems like the cobblestoned streets and the old buildings are an aesthetic attraction for media artists. Lil Kim and U2 just shot videos down here (the link has some great shots of the neighborhood). In the NY Times this weekend I was looking through the NY Times Magazine which I recommend for some amazing pictures of the Oscar nominees. At any rate the first page after these pictures is an Amex ad with Robert Deniro walking down a street. Where? You got it, one of the cobblestoned streets 2 blocks from here - Jay Street.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dumbo ROCKS!