There are many benefits to being born and raised in one of the greatest cities in the world. One can gain a unique perspective with cosmopolitan influences at every turn; different neighborhoods can contain different worlds that transport you across boundaries and cultures within a zip code. That said, many people from the most luxe neighborhoods of word capitals like Paris, London, and New York, end up not doing much outside of their native bubble, and even fear venturing to other boroughs, zones or areas. There are few such instances of willful ignorance more damaging than Manhattanites who choose not to go to Brooklyn. The most populous of New York’s five boroughs, Brooklyn is a city in its own right, in fact if it were its own city, it would be the fourth most populous in the United States. The summer provides many fun events more than worth the trip to Long Island, some of which you may have seen covered in previous posts here. One of the best events going on this summer in the city is Smorgasburg, a collection of food stands that collect in different parts of Brooklyn over the weekend and serve all day long, rain or shine.
Saturdays Smorgasburg is in Williamsburg, the neighborhood that inspired its name. While Williamsburg is an excellent neighborhood, which deserves its own amount attention. Here we will only talk about the Sunday Smorgasburg in DUMBO. DUMBO is one of the funnest names of any neighborhood in New York, (it stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and is right on the East River giving a light breeze and great views of the Financial District. The best way to get to DUMBO in my mind is to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan. One of the greatest engineering marvels in the history of the world, the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge ever at the time of its inception in 1883 and was one of New York’s principal tourist attractions for decades afterwards. It is a stunningly beautiful piece of work and the best way to see it is up close and personal.
Once you get off the Brooklyn Bridge you’ll be in the heart of DUMBO and have a wealth of options at your fingertips. While only about 5 years ago DUMBO was a strangely deserted industrial wasteland, in the short time since then it has seen a huge increase in character and glamour. Today there are loads of bakeries, bookshops, general stores and galleries lining the beautiful cobble stone streets, and they create an ambiance truly unlike any other. Part of this fabulous refurbishment is thanks to Brooklyn Bridge Park, which has slowly been expanding over the past years and is now a gorgeous and accessible green space by the water. Other highlights of the area include the carousel in Manhattan Bridge Park and the St. Ann’s Warehouse Theater.
Smorgasburg is housed in the old Tobacco Factory, a brick façade without a ceiling, whose function was, unsurprisingly, that of a tobacco factory. There are stands representing all kinds of food, drink and goods. Some of the more interesting ones I saw were a Bolivian sandwich stand, a place dedicated to serving buttermilk fried chicken, and a vegan BLT stand (I’m not sure how this last one is possible). That is to say, whatever you’re after, you can probably find it at Smorgasburg. That’s not to say the delicious treats are cheap, it’s a rather gourmet affair all told, with pieces averaging about seven dollars. That said, it’s a trip worth making and an interesting snapshot of the diversity and innovation in the New York food world that makes it so renowned by the world and beloved by her residents.
To return to the city, cut across the rest of DUMBO to the Manhattan Bridge, which has a quieter footpath than its Brooklyn counterpart, and also offers spectacular views of the latter, giving you yet another angle from which to admire the gateway to a borough that just keeps on giving.