There is a new app-etite in the air down these parts, where I work, to be more specific. Down Under the Manhattan Brooklyn overpass that is. The “Dumbo” app for IPhone is turning the neighborhood inside out and on its heels. Now everyone near and very far (the clickety clack of Asian stilettos can always be heard tiptoing along the cobblestones) that is remotely interested in this cute, Brooklyn subculture, can get that much closer, by just downloading a new app. Yes, the Corcorans and the Elliman’s have also shown interest in the “Dumbo App,” and then you know what happens, there goes the neighborhood. The yuppies will come, the prepset will follow suit and then the rent will be ‘too damn high.’ and for those of us that thought we were trailblazing may pay the price for being real estate forward and have to pack up and back up into other unchartered and less expensive beacons of uniqueness. Ah, being in the know sometimes backfires.
The IPhone Dumbo app, (I keep wanting to end after the ‘b’ but that would be ‘o’ so rude.) Someone did spend an inordinate amount of time researching, designing, coding, uploading, marketing and eventually selling this app to Apple. I have used (or rather poked fun at) this underenthusiastic and somewhat sophomoric appeal to cool insider insights only to find a less than enthusiatic outcome. It is a plain, old, regular netherworld concierge service, guiding the user though all the nooks and crannies, all the age old secrets and through all the neighborhood’s trendy (yet purposefully subdued) hot spots. Dumbo is home to some of the most unique arts spaces, galleries, creative installations, and an underground explosion of technological wizardry. And, all of that information can be gathered by happenstance. A coffee at Starbucks, a lunch at Foragers, a walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park, a ride on Jane’s Carousel, a lunch hour along the waterfront, a hop into any and all galleries on Front Street, a massage at Green Stone, a drive by through West Elm, a visit to Jacques Torres chocolates, a brunch at The River Café, an ice cream at The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory or a walking tour past St. Ann’e Warehouse Theater, Two Trees Development, or the penultimate DUMBO day – a photo op on Washington Street (that iconic and oh so sought after shot of the Manhattan Bridge.) I guess some applications seem better seen than programmed to be seen. The techies are on zombie cell stare everywhere and are now even screwing up the normal flow at Starbucks for sure as they are so busy being h ‘appy on their phones (and creating apps like this Dumb-o one, ok, I dropped the o bomb) they stall the ordering process with tech neck – trying to find the money to pay with a crooked head and shoulder using an ear to hold the phone in place. Call me crazy, but there is a Starbucks app that allows one to pay with the phone on a swipe, even when on speaker phone. Why didn’t they think of that one, I often wonder.
The tech territory that begins at the Brooklyn Bridge and extends far beyond the Manhattan Bridge has grown dramatically in the few years since I moved my office down there from Park Avenue. Not that Dumbo was a very waspy or preppy or sophisticated neighborhood, but it did have a lot more color, a friendly air about it. Now all I see are black puffers, army green flack jackets, stretched out floppy woolen hats (worn in the summer, naturally, for effect) and a lot of tats, piercings, colored locks, vintage toggery and knapsacks. I can not believe that carry-on for the Disney set is still in fashion. I consider that a backwards trend, not to mention that those sacks also cause even more hysteria at the coffee bar when not only can the techies not find expedient payment for a fast barista, they now have to bend over, unstrap, unzip and finally uncover a hidden wallet. OK, my coffee is tepid by now. My temperature usually warmer.
The Dumbo App’d to happen, is indeed a way to keep up to date on places to eat, street fairs and events, real estate listings, but it is naive, I think that one needs an app to gauge the temperature or the bridge closings. 1010 Wins has mastered that technique already, eh? I guess this app exists for a multitude of reasons, I just can’t think of any that are any more interesting than how I spend my lunch hour or half or minutes. Sipping a delicious coffee, listening to live music under the arches, taking some photos on Washington, if I like a work outfit, enjoying the colored pavement on my pedestrian plaza and reading the NY Times, on a break from work, from the phone, from the computer. And that is just all the news thats fit to print for me to read about everything that New York has to offer. Dumbo is divine, and I stumbled upon it, just by happenstance. And, what I found on my own was a wonderful app-endage to a technicolor and engagingly gorgeous and interesting area in a city that always speaks for itself.
Photographs by Viva Violeta Photography