Skip Manhattan—DUMBO Is the New Hot Spot, Says Lauren Bush Lauren

Gabrielle Savoie

Lauren Bush Lauren may share a vine-covered West Village townhouse with her husband, David Lauren, and their son, James, but on weekends, you'll likely find her strolling around in an entirely different part of town: Brooklyn's waterfront in DUMBO. The former model and designer, now CEO and co-founder of FEED, had her eye on the neighborhood for years before she chose it as the location of choice for her company's first brick-and-mortar store, the FEED Shop & Café, earlier this spring. "The shop officially opened this May, but we spent months before that traveling back and forth between FEED HQ in Meatpacking and the DUMBO location to make sure everything was perfect," says Lauren. "I've always loved DUMBO, so opening our first store here was a dream come true."

Lauren is not the only Manhattanite to flee the skyscrapers in favor of greenery, an authentic flair, and unbeatable water views. DUMBO—short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass—made famous by the Humphrey family in Gossip Girl, has attracted many big names in the hospitality world in recent years, from 1 Hotels, which opened its first Brooklyn location earlier this year, to Soho House, which is reported to be launching its third New York location there this fall. But despite the glamour and fanfare, DUMBO remains an area filled with rich New York history, cobblestones streets, and historic buildings. "It's so special to be in a neighborhood that still feels very authentic in a modern city like New York. The FEED Shop & Café is located in a building that was the first commercial production facility of roasted coffee. We still have the original brick walls and exposed wooden beams throughout the shop, which gives it a really special feel."

Empire Stores, a Civil War–era building on the waterfront that has been undergoing renovations for the past few years, is home to the FEED Shop & Café, along with other notable tenants such as Soho House's first public restaurant, Cecconi's, and the West Elm headquarters. "It's hard to beat the view from the Brooklyn Bridge Park," says Lauren. "DUMBO has stunning views of the city, and the bridge itself is iconic." We asked the social entrepreneur to give us a tour of her favorite Brooklyn neighborhood. From black-truffle pizza to cool vintage stores, you won't want to miss these DUMBO staples.

And now, Hannah Bronfman shares her top East Village date spots (and they're good).

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