Sections

DUMBO gets historic

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

DUMBO became Brooklyn’s 19th historic district on Tuesday — a designation that gives the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission veto power on any major alternations to buildings or new construction in the former manufacturing stronghold that is rapidly becoming a residential enclave.

“DUMBO was essential to Brooklyn’s rise as a major manufacturing center, and was home to some of America’s most important industrial firms that produced everything from ale and paper boxes to soap and steel wool,” said Commission Chairman Robert Tierney.

The designation — which gives the Commission broad oversight over alterations of existing buildings, but also a final say over the design of new buildings — was effective as of Tuesday’s unanimous vote.

In the announcement, the city refers to the neighborhood as the “DUMBO Historic District,” despite the name’s late 20th-century origins.

Indeed, it was real-estate developer David Walentas who bought up whole chunks of what was then “Gairville” in the 1980s, and rebranded it “Down Under Brooklyn Bridge Overpass” with dreams of transforming it into Brooklyn’s SoHo.

Tucker Reed, executive director of the DUMBO Improvement District, said he hoped the designation indicated that the city would pay more attention to the neighborhood.

“We hope this finally means the city will start investing resources in fixing public infrastructure in DUMBO, like our historic Belgian block streets,” said Reed.

The historic district is bounded by John Street to the north, York Street to the south, Main Street to the west and Bridge Street to the east, and includes 91 buildings.

Almost all of the industrial buildings in the historic district date from between 1880 and 1920, the period during which manufacturing in Brooklyn came of age. Now, DUMBO is better known as home to the $1 million, one-bedroom condo, and, of course, its enduring views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.

Whether or not the historic district designation will prevent future buildings like the oft-maligned, monolithic Beacon Tower to rise in DUMBO remains to be seen.

“Would the Commission in all its wisdom approve a project like the Beacon?” asked Reed. “It’s unclear. But the designation does provide for another level of oversight for projects like that.”

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.