Eat Shop Stay DUMBO


I spent every summer of my youth cavorting on the beach at Sea Gate, a tiny private community at the tip end of Coney Island. Even life-long Brooklynites don’t know where it is. My sisters and I inherited our great-grandparents’ shingled and turreted Victorian; my sister still lives there. I cherish the memories of those carefree and barefoot (literally) summers. The weird thing is we rarely left “The Gate,” except to go to “The City” for ballet, theatre, or to visit my other set of grandparents. So, I don’t really know Brooklyn, even though I was born there.

For fun and a change of pace, I recently holed up in Dumbo at the 1 Hotel (you probably know I’m a fan of this chainlet from a previous article on their Miami property).

The fresh scent of cedar (their signature) wafted through the lobby as I checked in, feeling far from the grit and grind of Manhattan. And for NYC, the rooms are spacious, kitted out with filtered water, a handy Nespresso, a yoga mat, and those cozy sweatshirt robes (I bought one in Miami!). The organic bedding and cushy bed made for a lovely night’s sleep. If you can, spring for a room with a water view, as mine faced a construction site.

For breakfast or lunch head downstairs to the organic cafe and in good weather, take your cappuccino and croissant on the terrace facing Brooklyn Bridge Park.

1 Hotel Room

Lunch at 1 Hotel

Don’t Miss in Dumbo:

One Girl Cookies:
Oh, these mini treats! One Girl bakes up shortbread, butter, oatmeal, and sandwich cookies in unusual flavors and bite sizes. A perfect guilt-free treat, and if you can’t make it there, they SHIP!

One Girl Cookies

Jacques Torres:
This famous award-winning chocolatier packs up boxes of sweets to order, and grab a luscious gelato cone or hot cocoa while you wait. His chocolate empire began right here in Dumbo.

Authentic French pastries (my sister treks here from Sea Gate for them), baguette sandwiches, and mammoth meringues. Et espresso, bien sur.

Front General Store:
This homage to vintage features stacks of Levis, racks of sunglasses, shelves of Native American sterling, Pendleton blankets, and so much more.

Front General Store

Modern Chemist:
From party hats to witch hazel, and Malin & Goetz to Supergoop, this drugstore offers up an interesting selection of small-batch beauty products, delightful greeting cards, and a full-on pharmacy. Brilliant concept.

Modern Chemist Dumbo

Modern Chemist

Powerhouse Arena:
Forgot your reading material? Head straight to this bookshop-slash-event space for a literary retreat and piles of art books.

Gran Electrica: Come for the garden stay for the food…
The dearth of good Mexican food in our area (save for the occasional pop-up taco night), makes me beeline for an authentic south of the border experience. Hello, Gran Electrica, this party of a restaurant with a delightful patio, serves up some serious tacos matched with wicked margaritas. We couldn’t resist the queso either. Tacos are mainly two for $10 make for a fun and reasonable night out.

Gran Eléctrica

Gran Eléctrica Dumbo

My mini me. 

Cecconi Dumbo:
This elegant spot right on the East River in Brooklyn Bridge Park has panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline from the terrace and a glam interior in which to enjoy handmade pasta, coal-fired pizza, brick chicken or branzino. This view doesn’t come cheap. Go for a long and lazy lunch.

Cecconi Dumbo

The view from the terrace at Cecconi’s!



Jay Street Bar:
$5 glass of wine in Dumbo? Yes, please. My sister and I whiled away an early happy hour (2:30 to 7!) at this classic neighborhood joint.

Juliana’s Pizza:

Skip the line at Grimaldi’s and head to Juliana’s Pizza, owned by the original Grimaldi family and serving up classic coal-fired pies.

Brooklyn Flea:

Sundays in Dumbo mean The Brooklyn Flea, an extravaganza of vintage, antique and, of course since it’s Brooklyn, plenty of interesting food vendors, too. Through October.

Empire Stores is a renovated and sprawling 19th-century brick warehouse on the East River waterfront and home to Shinola, Feed Cafe, West Elm, Sugar Cane (a lively Miami import featuring small plates), J. Crew Men’s (it’s got an authentic barber shop!), and more.

More to explore: Brooklyn Bridge Park (and Jane’s Carousel!) is right outside the hotel.

Jane's Carousel

Getting Around:

The New York City Ferry landing is a step from the hotel. At $2.75 a trip (the same as the subway) you can shoot straight over to Wall Street or meander up the East River to Williamsburg and then across to 34th Street.

A subway stop is a couple of blocks from the 1 Hotel and Ubers are everywhere.

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