Thursday, July 20, 2000

There're no dummies in DUMBO

Despite its disparaging anacronym, D.U.M.B.O (Down Under the Manhattan

Bridge Overpass), is becoming another trendy neighborhood in Brooklyn. It

was dusk when I arrived in the warehouse district for the area's kick-off

event on Thursday, July 20. The lower-Manhattan skyline rose up in the

haze. The kick-off event drew over 400 artsy, business-y and related

"dot-com" networkers to the spacious, fluid restaurant Kino, at One Main

Street. "Downtown Brooklyn Connected" is the name of the high-technology

district in Downtown Brooklyn & D.U.M.B.O, and let me tell you -- watch

out Silicon Alley NYC! The number of attendees and the enthusiasm, energy

and activity going on in this community is vibrant and vital. The kick-off

event was an opportunity to see the

pre-built, pre-wired space now available for lease. With rents starting at

$16 square foot, the numerous warehouse areas available, and the community

development going on, the Downtown Brooklyn and D.U.M.B.O neighborhoods

are just what New York State needs to keep businesses

and industries in this state. Despite the market corrections and

shake-outs, we've lost far too much business to New Jersey and other

states that have far more attractive offers businesses.

And this was precisely the point of Councilman Kenneth Fisher of the 33rd

district. He spoke of Brooklyn's strong points -- colleges, close access

to fiber, close proximity to Manhattan, and the creativity of the people

who live there. The New York City Economic Development Corporation

(NYCEDC) also got involved in assisting the development of downtown

Brooklyn and D.U.M.B.O. The agency recently selected the Brooklyn Chamber

of Commerce to market these areas, collectively called Downtown Brooklyn

Connected, as high-tech districts in NYC EDC's Digital NYC wired to the

world program. Simon Applebaum, Senior Editor of Cablevision magazine, was

full of information, having just come back from a Boston conference about

the television and

Internet realms and their convergence. We chatted with the councilman, and

then Marjorie Cader (Kaplow Communications) introduced us to Kevin Umeh

(Element USA). They're going to move from Manhattan to become an anchor

tenant at 55 Washington Street in D.U.M.B.O. Up one level in the

tri-tiered restaurant, I chatted with Ellen Ullman (Working Woman) and

Gina Givogre (the

New York Methodist). Steve Rogenstein, co-producer of the D.U.M.B.O arts

center talked a bit about their Art Under the Bridge Festival, and I also

met Monica Rump, manager of Trade Relations for Brooklyn Goes Digital, who

has offices in the MetroTech Center. While NYNMA's CyberSuds was going on

in Manhattan, Alice O'Rourke was over to visit with members of the

organizations involved in Brooklyn, and I got to visit with PR 21's Renee

Edelman. Based on DJ Peter Anthony's impressive spinning, this large crew

wasn't going anywhere any Time soon!