The acronym for this area stands for "Down Under (the) Manhattan Bridge Overpass", although DUMBO actually encompasses the larger area that sits between the and immediately around the approaches to both the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.
Settlement of the area dates to the mid 17th century Dutch settlers who ran ferries to Manhattan. Robert Fulton established the first steam ferry service here in 1814. Industrial development in the area soon followed and continued through the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 and the Manhattan Bridge in 1909. Activity began to decline precipitously after World War II, most notably when the advent of containerization in 1950 that moved most port activity out of Brooklyn and Manhattan and over to new facilities in New Jersey.
Through the 1960s and 1970s the decrepit area was home to sweatshops and other light industry. In the 1980s, artists who were priced out of Manhattan became attracted to the area for its natural light and abundant space. In typical fashion, the developers followed (and displaced) the artists and after a rezoning in 1998 that permitted legal housing, gentrification turned it into a Yuppie paradise.
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