Every day as I exit the subway on Jay and York Street and begin the downhill trek to Outthink’s office, I inhale that pungent East River air and smile. I love working in DUMBO.
I never expected it. As a Brooklyn dweller I always enjoyed spending Monday through Friday working in Manhattan, because, well that’s where everything seems to happen. The deals are signed, the delis fully stocked, the happy hours plentiful, the energy palpable. I really and truly love Brooklyn, but living and working there seemed like too much of a good thing.
But Outthink’s digs at 10 Jay Street showed me that the neighborhood has a lot more to offer than city views.
First, there’s the energy. Startups abound here (Magsty, How About We, etc.), especially those of the tech variety. Hardly anyone working here is over 40 (or even 30!) and most are operating lean, digital-focused companies. The influx of budding tech entrepreneurs makes for a tight-knit community of likeminded individuals who are all hell-bent on helping each other out. The proof? Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy flooded much of the area, the DUMBO Improvement District raised more than $40,000 for those affected by the storm.
Then there are the (slightly) bigger digital companies such as Etsy, HUGE, Small Planet, Red Antler, and Wireless Generation, to name a few. NYU PolyTech is incubating some of the finest tech talent in the five boroughs. All of this youthful vigor electrifies the neighborhood in much the same way the inimitable E.B. White described in This Is New York: “The city makes up for its hazards and its deficiencies by supplying its citizens with massive doses of a supplementary vitamin—the sense of belonging to something unique, cosmopolitan, mighty and unparalleled. . . .”
DUMBO also boasts art galleries, theater (St. Ann’s Warehouse), and one of Brooklyn’s best bookstores (powerHouse). But, as with any office area, the deciding factors are really its coffee and lunch options. Brooklyn Roasting Company on Jay Street sources only fair trade, Rainforest Alliance, and organic certified beans (and they are some of the kindest coffee snobs I know). Food trucks serve up everything from gourmet grilled cheese to vegan faire at lunch time. And if you just want a salad, try the food bar at Foragers or a made-to-order option at DUMBO Kitchen.
Factor in the reasonably priced rent, and DUMBO may be the perfect place to for any small, innovative new business to call home.