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MAP: DUMBO Sheds Industrial Past to Become Kid-Friendly Haven

By Janet Upadhye | July 28, 2014 8:08pm
 Once a land of warehouses, DUMBO has become one of the most kid-friendly neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
Kid-Friendly DUMBO
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DUMBO — A neighborhood once filled with warehouses and abandoned cars is getting even more features for kids.

PowerHouse Arena recently increased its children's books section. Brooklyn Roasting Company added a new stroller ramp. Professional bike shop RedBeard started selling training wheels. And upscale Atrium has a secret kids' menu that includes pasta with butter.

The number of small children living in DUMBO increased by nearly 40 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to Census data that also includes Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights.

In the year 2000, there were 2,220 children under the age of 5 living in these neighborhoods. By 2010, that number increased to 3,121. In recent years even more families with small children have flocked to DUMBO, according to residents.

Local mom Natalia Jacobs said she recently opened a children's store — Two Kids and a Dog — at Pearl Street Triangle to meet the growing demand for kid's toys and clothing.

"There are so many small children in the neighborhood and so many new ones on the way," she said. "The neighborhood needed more kids' stores."

Jacobs, who is raising two children ages 2 and 4 in DUMBO, opened the boutique three months ago and is already planning to expand.

Many local parents said they wouldn't think of raising their kids anywhere else.

"The neighborhood is small, so there is a real community feel among the parents," said parent Sabrina Dycos, a lawyer raising her two daughters in DUMBO. "It is a really great place to raise kids."

Still, DUMBO families deal with noise from the Manhattan Bridge, a lack of pre-K options and traffic congestion on the small cobblestone streets.

"The number of young families and the residential population have exploded and that makes lack of traffic control a public safety issue," local mom Marji Molavi said at a Department of Transportation meeting late last year.

But kid-friendly local spots like Brooklyn Bridge Park, Jane's Carousel and Pirate Ship Park are definite draws to parents.

"It's not Park Slope times yet, but I have noticed a uptick in younger kids living in the neighborhood since last year," Ilya Nikhamin, owner of RedBeard Bikes said.

DNAinfo New York rounded up nine kid-friendly places to visit in the neighborhood.

Jane’s Carousel, Brooklyn Bridge Park

Jane’s Carousel is located right on the waterfront in Brooklyn Bridge Park near the Main Street entrance. This 1922 carousel, carefully restored by Jane Walentas, has 48 horses and two chariots for children to ride.

“The carousel provides so much joy to the tens of thousands of children who visit each year,” Walentas said.

The carousel is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the summer. It's closed on Tuesday. Tickets are $2 and children under 3 ride for free with an adult.

Dewey’s Candy Store, 141 Front St.

This is the “Charlie’s Chocolate Factory” of DUMBO. The small shop is filled with colorful lollipops, gummies, jellybeans, chocolate and more. They also have special “vintage” treats like Swedish fish, wax bottles, Pop Rocks, Necco Wafers, Bazooka gum and Fun Dip.

Half Pint Citizens, 41 Washington St.

This specialty shop for babies, kids and parents offers clothing, shoes, toys, school supplies and books. They also have custom-made gear like onesies printed with "Brooklyn."

Half Pint, which opened in 2005, is one of the oldest children’s shops in the neighborhood and regularly hosts visitors from all over New York City and the world.

It also hosts community events, environmental education series for kids and regularly makes donations to local schools. Check their blog for more details.

Two Kids and a Dog, 65 Pearl St.

The recently opened Two Kids and a Dog is DUMBO’s newest children’s store. Opened by Jacobs, this shop specializes in handpicked fashion, toys, and gifts for children up to 8 years old. Outside, they have a motorized bike and a picnic table with sand and Play-Doh.

Pirate Ship Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park

A favorite in DUMBO, this playground has a squishy floor, multiple slides and a sand box. The sprinklers usually turn on during the summer, though this summer they will be off due to nearby construction, DUMBO Parents reported. Still, the waterfront location and shade from nearby trees makes this a great spot for parents and kids to pass the afternoon.

Egg by Susan Lazar, 72 Jay St.

Opened in 2003, Egg sells designer clothing for babies and kids. They use environmentally friendly materials in all of the clothing and incorporate cute prints in their hats, pants, tops, dresses and onesies.

PowerHouse Arena, 37 Main St.

Jordan Nielsen, the kids' book-buyer at the gallery, shop and event space PowerHouse Arena, said their children’s programming grows every year with an influx of new kids and tourism in the neighborhood. PowerHouse hosts kids' sing-a-longs, arts and crafts and often welcomes groups of kids from nearby preschools to read from their growing selection of children’s books.

Berl's Poetry Shop, 126A Front St.

Berl's, one of the only poetry-specific book stores in the city, opened last year with a shelf dedicated to poetry for children, in honor of the owners’ 10-month-old baby — Roman Field White.

They also host events for children. Check their website for details on upcoming events.

Read more about Berl's Poetry Shop here.

Redbeard Bikes, 68 Jay St.

There’s a growing section of bikes at Redbeard that have sparkly tassels hanging from the handlebars and training wheels that come in blue and purple.