With its oversized live/work loft spaces, picturesque water views, cheap rent, cobblestone streets, and five-minute subway ride to Lower Manhattan, DUMBO—shorthand for 'Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass,' and not to be confused with RAMBO, or 'Right after the Manhattan Bridge Overpass'—was a hub for starving artists in the 1970s, but these days the A.I.R [artist in residence] signs that were once posted on most of the converted warehouse buildings are long gone.
The Brooklyn neighborhood's boundaries have been heavily contested by residents, politicians and real estate brokers alike, but according to New York magazine, DUMBO’s boundaries are Hudson Avenue to Fulton Street and Prospect Street to John Street.
In the 1990s, DUMBO had one bar—the Between the Bridges Pub—and a single dingy bodega that closed at 5PM to serve the creative types who called the area home. Today, that lone pub has been torn down and replaced with a 23-story, 79-unit high-rise condo that boasts a Zen garden, a state-of-the-art gym, and a rooftop terrace loaded with amenities. The bodega has been razed, but instead you can check out area businesses such as Chef Jacques Torres' artisanal chocolate shop, the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory, or the always-packed Grimaldi’s pizza.
The neighborhood is also home to Gleason’s Gym—a gym where amateurs can work out side-by-side with world class fighters. Professional boxers Roberto Duran, Mike Tyson, Sonny Liston and Jake LaMotta (vividly portrayed by Robert De Niro in the 1980 film Raging Bull) have all trained at Gleason’s.
It is believed that printer and paper bag maker Robert Gair first established a commercial presence in the area that would eventually become known as DUMBO in the 1880s, because of the area's access to shipping just north of the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge.