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Brooklyn bike adventure: Dumbo

February 29, 2012

Recently, I had a few free hours and decided to take advantage of the weather and bike down to Dumbo.  I’ve been there quite a few times, but its always nice to see a familiar scenario with fresh eyes, and on this trip, I developed a new appreciation for the Manhattan Bridge (seen below from up on the hill), followed my nose and went in many circles on my bike, and made a few new friends in the process!

I went down towards the water, stopping by at the new One Girl Cookies to pick up a lovely oat and currant scone and chamomile tea (which later spilled out of my cup holder and almost made me fall off my bike!), and the Powerhouse bookshop for a few birthday cards, and a congratulations card for my Grandpa, who is being inducted into the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame later this year for his Corvette racing with his brother Allan!  And across the street from these shops, it looked like a luxury car lot, with Mercedes, Lexus, and Audis parked against an old factory brick wall.  When you stay close to the intersection of Front and Main where the Starbucks and West Elm are located, Dumbo can feel a bit like a luxury adult playground, but I wanted to explore the area a little more.

I rode down to the waterfront park and found the luxury children’s playground at Jane’s Carousel 😉  Built in 1922, it has been lovingly restored to its original brilliance with paints, jewels, mirrors, etc replicated exactly to match its appearance when it was new.

Having been there earlier in the year, I opted not to take another spin on the painted pony (I’m dizzy enough from this carousel of life ;))  Inside I observed a little birthday party in front where kids were racing to wrap their partners with toilet paper so that they looked like mummies, and then biked into a small armory type structure, where I got a  nice framed view of the water…

I continued down along the water and happened upon a grandmother and child exploring the rocks down by the water and it made me so happy to see them able to explore nature amidst the urban surroundings.  (I once ventured down there among the rocks on a dare with a friend and we even put our feet in the water!  To this day, we still have our feet, East River pollution be damned…)

I decided to venture farther in to the streets of the neighborhood, looking for Melville House Books to pick up one of their totes, and their recipe book on how to roast everything, but alas they are closed on the weekends…  Instead, lured by the decals on the windows, I ventured in to the Smack Mellow Studios, and checked out their gallery exhibits!

Being a quilt connoisseur and loving all things textile, I was particularly drawn to Stephen Sollins Piecework, where he used mailing envelopes to create patchwork beauties!

It got me thinking about all the waste we create in the US, how to reuse and recycle this stuff, and also about how to find the beauty in the every day and to be able to transform ‘nothing’ into something meaningful by seeing it in this different light.  It also got me thinking about my driving lesson scheduled for later in the day – all of those orange center squares are parking tickets!

I continued on my way, bumping along often on the cobblestone streets

and kept running into the same cute couple who were also riding around the hood on folding bikes with their cameras.  Eventually we ended up stopped at the same spot taking pictures, and we struck up a conversation.  George and Jennifer were so sweet, and asked if they could take a picture of me and my bike with their 1960s camera, so old school that to see the viewfinder, you look down the top of the camera.  We talked for a few, and exchanged email addresses.  George sent me the pictures later, and I could barely believe we were in the same place!  His shots were so gorgeous and artfully composed that I just had to share one here, of the base of the Manhattan Bridge.  I am looking forward to meeting up with them soon for Dim Sum, which I think would make for a great post too!

I stopped into some of the shops on Jay Street, and wanted to explore Vinegar Hill and the Navy Yards a bit, but started to head back up the hill to the heights, not wanting to keep my driving instructor waiting.  Dumbo has a lot of secret treasures, and some stunning views of the water and the city.  No wonder it is always so crowded when the weather is nice!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 29, 2012 4:10 pm

    Gia, I love following your adventures everyday! I can hear your sweet voice in my head as I read them. Love you! Laura

  2. February 29, 2012 6:41 pm

    Love your post. Not often do we get to really stop and smell the roses. No problem for using my picture 🙂

  3. March 1, 2012 11:33 pm

    Looking forward to Dim Sum later this month!


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