Place in History

Dumbo Development Boxes

Year: 1999
Project: Installation of ten viewing boxes at Brooklyn's Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park as part of the Intervistas/Between the Bridges exhibit, sponsored by the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition. Each box housed images exploring the planning, development, and redevelopment of Fulton Ferry/DUMBO/Vinegar Hill area since its emergence as Brooklyn's chief port in the mid-1600s. Place in History kicked off the project by drawing up a timeline history of DUMBO, and by organizing a community workshop, at which local residents, activists, urbanists, artists, historians and developers met to discuss neighborhood history and current development plans.
  • Dumbo Community Workshop

    June 10, 1999 - Smack Mellon Studios Brooklyn, NY

    The Development Box Project was an interdisciplinary initiative focused on the history and development of the Fulton Ferry / DUMBO / Vinegar Hill area, Brooklyn's first port neighborhood. As a first step towards examining this history, Place in History organized a workshop with community members, historians, urbanists and artists to discuss the social, physical and economic history of the area. In the aftermath of the workshop, Place in History drew on participants' comments and our own research to develop a series of slides, evoking the neighborhood's landscape and history. These slides were then displayed in ten viewing boxes which Place in History mounted in Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge.

    Click here to read excerpts from the workshop transcript.

  • Dumbo Development Boxes

    July 31 to September 6, 1999 - Fulton Ferry State Park New Dock Street & East River, Brooklyn, NY

    The DUMBO Development Boxes Project was an interdisciplinary initiative focused on the history and development of the Fulton Ferry / DUMBO / Vinegar Hill area, Brooklyn's first port neighborhood.

    As a first step towards examining this history, Place in History organized a workshop with community members, historians, urbanists and artists to discuss the social, physical and economic history of the area.

    Combining ideas and materials from a Place in History-organized community workshop with our own research, Place in History developed a series of slides for display within our ten viewing boxes. The slides evoke the neighborhood's ever-changing landscape (from pastoral village to manufacturing center to upscale residential enclave), its allure as the subject of grand development schemes, and its strong and sometimes strained relationship to Lower Manhattan, its sister neighborhood across the river.

    Sponsors

    Brooklyn Borough President's Office
    Independence Community Foundation
    New York Council for the Humanities

    Partners

    Marcia Hillis
    Marcia Reiss
    Marianna Koval
    Gary Vanderputten
    Louanne Smith
    Robert Winkler
    Arlene Winkler
    Christopher Drago
    Lorraine Walsh
    Berit Fischer
    Monique Denoncin
    Anne Howland
    Michele Convery
    Jonas Kyle
    Orin Brown
    Adam Levinson
    Carol Clark
    Susan De Vreis
    Smack Mellon Studios
    Brooklyn Historical Society
    Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition
    Brooklyn Public Library
    New York Public Library
    New York City Municipal Archives

  • Historical Chronology, 1642 - 2000


  Page 3: Modern Times  

1

2

3

4

Modern Times

1901:  Construction begins on the Manhattan Bridge.

1903-1908: The warehouses are now occupied by the New York Dock Company.

1909:  On December 31, the Manhattan Bridge opens to traffic.  The bridge is is 6855 feet long, connecting western Brooklyn with southeastern Manhattan.

c. 1913: New Dock Street is laid out; the five-story Tobacco Inspection Warehouse is modified from a rectangular structure to a triangular one to accommodate the street.

1920: By this date, tracks for John Arbuckle's Jay Street Connecting Railroad have been laid along the former Plymouth Street, fanning out to seven tracks in the area previously occupied by the one-story Tobacco Inspection Warehouse. Arbuckle Brothers occupy and own the warehouses.

1924: The Fulton Ferry ceases to operate, but shipping activities continue.

1929: By this date, additional railroad tracks have been constructed on the site.

1936: The New York City Department of Purchase Storehouse is built under the Brooklyn Bridge. The Empire Stores are being used as a scrap metal reclaiming center. The Arbuckle property is sold to Famous Realty, Inc.

1945: The Tobacco Warehouses have been reduced to two stories and are being used as a scrap metal reclaiming center. The Arbuckle property is sold to Famous Realty, Inc.

Next Page
©2017 Place in History