Now on to "Hands On Dumbo"! The headquarters of the popular online e-commerce handmade and vintage craft store called Etsy, is located in Brooklyn, NY, in a friendly little neighborhood called DUMBO, which is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. They, along with the Dumbo Improvement District, hosted a "Hands on DUMBO" event to allow participants to explore this unique Brooklyn neighborhood and take part in craft projects hosted by seven local businesses.
The Hands On DUMBO meeting began at the Archway area of the Manhattan Bridge, with music being played by DJ Colleen Crumbcake, photos at a photo booth, and a pinprick card project led by Etsy staff. A map of the DUMBO neighborhood was also handed out listing the locations of all the evening’s crafting festivities.
The Archway is actually part of the Manhattan Bridge overpass and has been turned into a unique meeting place! The 7,000 square foot space has seating, lighting, electricity, and free wifi, all provided by the DUMBO Improvement District year round for use by the community. It is also available for use for special events.
The entire Hands On Dumbo event was free, with pre-registration. The main office of Etsy on 55 Washington Street also hosts a free open monthly craft night called "Etsy Labs," that offers a wide assortment of different crafts projects and tutorials. You can read a prior post I wrote about visiting the Etsy Lab for a felting workshop on this link.
At Neighborhoodies, located at 26 Jay Street, we made hand-sewn patches, just like they produce for their custom sweatshirts and tees for men, women and children, which they sell individually through internet orders, along with bulk orders. They showed us the process of ironing on decals and then surrounding the design with stitches. We loved their space on the ground floor of an old warehouse, and they graciously allowed us to walk around to see more.
At the Brooklyn Roasting Company located at 25 Jay Street, we learned how to turn a coffee can into a DIY ice cream maker, and made a pouch of coffee flavored ice cream that we enjoyed on the spot. I think I will have to return to their cafe someday soon to enjoy some of their Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, and Organic certified and sustainable coffees, and have one of their Italian Affogatos, which is ice cream smothered with strong brewed coffee. They also sell their coffee beans online.
My friend and I always find it interesting to walk around the vintage cobblestone streets of the DUMBO neighborhood. It is a mix of old industrial factories, some of which date back to the 1800's, that are now being converted into a mix of new artisan businesses, condominiums, artists lofts and stores. The Brooklyn Museum recently sent me an e-mail that stated that Brooklyn, New York is now home to more artists than anywhere else in the United States, making it one of the world's capital of creativity, and that is certainly evident in DUMBO. You can learn more about the DUMBO community and its businesses and culture on this link.
The approaching evening was pleasantly mild in temperature, so we decided to take a walk over to the waterfront and walk along the Brooklyn Bridge Park path. Large bushes of pink, purple and blue hydrangeas were blooming so beautifully outside the chic River Cafe restaurant.
From our vantage point in the park we had another wonderful view of the entire span of the Manhattan Bridge -- one of three bridges that connects Brooklyn to Manhattan over the East River.
In the other direction we could see the Brooklyn Bridge, and we lingered awhile on the path to watch the sun begin to set behind the buildings of lower Manhattan.
Standing on the edge of the water I could actually hear the hum and vibration of the city as the sun slowly dipped down below the horizon. New York is so full of life and excitement -- I think you can see why I love living here so much. Thank you Etsy, and all the shops that participated in Hand On DUMBO, for a wonderful evening!
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