‘Dumbo Drop’ delights: Toy elephants take flight over Brooklyn for school fundraiser

NY: Dumbo Drop 2024
Toy elephants on parachutes descend down on Washington Street as part of the annual Dumbo Drop.
Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Hundreds flocked to the annual “Dumbo Drop” on Washington Street between Front and Water streets on Friday to cheer on thousands of flying toy elephants parachuting from the buildings lining Brooklyn’s most picturesque street.

The unique ticketed spectacle raises money for Dumbo’s Title 1 public school, PS 307 Elementary, and The Dock Street Middle School. Both shows, at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., were sold out. Each spectator received a souvenir toy elephant, a guaranteed spot to view the drop, and an entry into the drop’s prize sweepstakes.

Jellyband entertained the crowd with new and old tunes. Before the drop, the Brooklyn Diamonds showed off their dance drills, while New York City’s beloved drum line band, Fogo Azul, performed on the cobblestone-paved street as  toy elephants rained down on them.

A spectator came dressed for the occasion.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
Fogo Azul performed on the picturesque cobblestone paved street during the drop.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

The unlucky few who weren’t able to score a ticket still had the chance to party at the DUMBO Archway Kids Zone, which offered more than 30 activities for children ages 1 to 10, and Restaurant Row, featuring neighborhood eateries.

Alexandria Sica, president of the DUMBO Business Improvement District, told Brooklyn Paper they came up with the idea of the “Dumbo Drop” to capitalize on the beautiful scenery and magical spot that offers views of the Manhattan Bridge and the Empire State Building in the distance.

“We wanted to find a way to have Washington [Street] work for the students of the neighborhood,” Sica said. “The community has loved this event for many years. It’s a neighborhood tradition; families come out, and the workforce pokes their heads out the window and gets to see something you can only see in this place on this part of the planet.”

The initial flight of the miniature pachyderms took place in 2017, and every year, the parachutes are designed by a neighborhood artist. This year, Noah Lyon, a multidisciplinary creator based in Brooklyn, designed the parachutes for Operation Dumbo Drop.

Denise and Michael from Long Island visit DUMBO often because the area is “a lot of fun.” When Denise looked up events happening in Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, she came across the drop.

The dance squad Brooklyn Diamonds showed off their skills.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
Crowds get ready for the drop of the toy elephants on parachutes.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

“I never knew that they did this all the years we’ve been coming here. I think it’s great,” Denise said. “And it’s funny, [Michael] is a [Department of Education] teacher. So the fact that it turns out to be a fundraiser for them is even better.”

“I took a vacation day today, and I was like, ‘Oh, okay, great, this is supporting another school,'” Michael added.

Jessica Chao and Tanda Lee from Flushing, Queens, saw pictures of the drop on social media and went straight to the DUMBO Improvement District’s website to buy tickets.

“In the beginning, we thought we needed to catch [the elephants],” Chao said. “I realized it’s going to be super dangerous, especially for the kids here. So, it makes sense that they just give us the [souvenir] elephants.”

Icesis from Bed-Stuy shared that elephants were her favorite animals, which was evident from her Dumbo ear headband, Dumbo shirt, and a jacket embroidered with cartoon Dumbo.

The Brooklynite had heard about the event from the news and regretted not knowing about it earlier.

Jellyband entertained the crowd with popular tunes.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann
Toy elephants make their way down to the ground.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

“This is so exciting,” Icesis declared. “I’m so mad. This is my first time coming. I wish I would have come many years [ago]. But I’m so excited since I’ve been here. I can’t stop dancing. I love the band.”

DUMBO resident Neil Modi and his three-year-old daughter Maya loved the drop.

“It’s so fun and silly, [and] so great for the kids,” Modi said. “I always appreciate the games they have for the kids, and I like that they raise money for local schools.”