Ferry tale of Dumbo

Ferry tale of Dumbo
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Time to sail down under — the Manhattan Bridge!

The final stop on the South Brooklyn Line is Dumbo. With its giant warehouses, high architectural arches, and the ever-looming shade of the bridge it takes its name from, the Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass neighborhood is unlike any other in the city. The development of recent years has turned it into one of the classiest and also quirkiest spots for a day out. If you think classy and quirky don’t go together, reconsider: Dumbo is like that extravagant single aunt who wears all the jewelry she owns at once, and she knows her way around a wine bar!

Lucky for us, all of Dumbo’s treasures are right by the water. As soon as you dismount the ferry, you will discover a kooky piece of experimental art just to your right — Anish Kapoor’s “Descension,” which recreates a rumbling whirlpool of roaring water in the middle of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier One.

When you break free from the pool’s hypnotic hold, it is time to cool off with a scoop from the renowned Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (1 Water St. at Old Fulton Street). On a hot summer day, there may be a line going into the converted fireboat station, but the dairy treat is worth it!

For more substantial fare, the Buzz Bar awaits you outside the ice cream spot, offering lobster rolls, pints of beer, and seats in the sun. And for a more formal dinner (or breakfast) experience, the River Café next door is a highlight, offering elaborate modern American cuisine in a stunning, literally “on the water” setting.

After eating, wander along Water Street and pass under the Brooklyn Bridge. You will quickly reach a curious structure of red brick arches and vegetation known as the Max Family Garden, which shares space with the theater St. Ann’s Warehouse (45 Water St. at Old Fulton Street). Stroll through the garden and you return to the beautiful waterfront — and the world famous Jane’s Carousel. The gigantic, glitzy merry-go-round is a real hotspot for couples getting hitched — seriously, it is hard to walk through the area without photo-bombing a bridal shoot or two!

And if the night is young, keep walking down Water street until you reach the mammoth Archway Under the Manhattan Bridge (Water Street between Adams Street and Anchorage Place), a public plaza devoted to fun, rain or shine. Grab a drink from the Archway Lighthouse, which serves a good selection of beer and wine (Wed–Sun, noon–10 pm), and on Thursdays during the summer, groove to tunes from the Live at the Archway music series. This week, steel drum ensemble Jah Pan will rock the Arch starting at 6 pm.

New York City Ferry in Dumbo (on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier One, Old Fulton Street at Furman Street in Dumbo, www.ferry.nyc). $2.75 per trip.