55 Water St., DUMBO
It's tasteful (because it's Cecconi's), and it's cavernous (because it's in DUMBO), but neither of these things matter. Ask for a table outside. Then settle in on the deck, right on the water, and behold New York City as it was meant to be beheld. Get comfortable—order a Negroni and perhaps the shishito peppers with bottarga and lemon or the calamari fritti. The waiters are ridiculously accommodating and happy to break up your order so you can pace out the evening. Should one Negroni become two, follow up your aperitivi with a wood-oven pizza with black truffle, zucchini, and goat cheese or ravioli with Parmesan, mushroom, and sage. Better still: Order whatever will take the longest—the East River makes a remarkable dinner companion.
FEED Shop & Café
55 Water St., DUMBO
Lauren Bush Lauren’s decade-old, philanthropic FEED program now has its own physical café and retail space in DUMBO, which stocks her entire line of functional, aesthetical FEED products (each bag–made from durable burlap or leather–is emblazoned with the number of meals its sale has provided to children in need). Bush Lauren came up with the idea while working as World Food Program Honorary Spokesperson where she witnessed the detrimental effects hunger can have on a child's physical and educational development. Aside from the bags, FEED has branched into other carefully made, ethical products like candles, jewelry, and apparel. The café itself is bright, light, and airy with walls of windows, exposed brick, and touches of greenery—somewhere you want to settle in with a perfectly brewed cup of coffee (a Heritage custom blend, roasted in conjunction with La Colombe). While placing your order you’ll notice the bar features a live meal counter, which ticks up meals that have been donated as people buy their coffee or FEED goods.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Dumbo
Originally installed in 1922 in Youngstown, Ohio, Jane and David Walentas bought the dilapidated carousel at auction in the 80s, before turning their attention to meticulously restoring it (Jane went so far as to scrape the layers of paint off with an Exacto knife, so she could color-match the artist’s original intentions). The carousel and its 48 horses are pristine now, and housed in a fitting all-glass, Jean Nouvel-designed pavilion. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of green space nearby to make a full day out of it.
West Elm Market (Closed)
50 Washington St., DUMBO
West Elm's hipper little sister store in DUMBO has the look and feel of an old-fashioned general store and stocks a selection of unique kitchen essentials and home accessories that you won't find at the bigger chain. In part, it’s because they collaborate with small, emerging and local labels like Brooklyn Copper Cookware.
68 Washington St., Dumbo
We'd venture to say that Lisa Brock is a true Brooklyn pioneer, being the first to bring runway fashion to Dumbo. Right in the middle of the now bustling (and continuously developing) neighborhood, you’ll find Lanvin, Miu Miu, Jimmy Choo, and more in this light-filled, sprawling, space.
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