Dumbo celebration marks the 10th anniversary of the iconic Archway’s public life

Posted On Tue, June 18, 2019 By

Posted On Tue, June 18, 2019 By In adaptive reuse, DUMBO, Events

The Brooklyn Flea under the Archway. Photo: Noemie Trusty, courtesy of Dumbo Improvement District.

On Friday, June 21, Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Archway under the Manhattan Bridge–the “UMBO” of Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), so to speak. The Archway–one of the only covered outdoor spaces in New York City—has for the past decade served as the neighborhood’s town square, giving hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors a prime public place for large-scale events, community gatherings, film shoots, art exhibitions and local start-up events. In celebration, expect food, music and visual arts exhibitions befitting a neighborhood with Dumbo’s unique creative history.

Dumbo archway, dumbo, public spaces

Ten years ago, the Archway under the Manhattan bridge was a storage space, locked tight behind massive gates. On April 24, 2009, the off-limits structure–the Brooklyn Paper referred to it as “the Berlin Wall of Dumbo”–became an early participant in the NYCDOT plaza program.

Dumbo archway, dumbo, public spaces

Dumbo archway, dumbo, public spaces
Construction of the archway. Image courtesy of Dumbo Improvement District

Dumbo archway, dumbo, public spaces
The Archway before its current transformation. Image courtesy of Dumbo Improvement District

The opportunity did more than unite the neighborhood geographically. The Archway was transformed from a gated storage space to one of New York City’s most interesting public spaces. At the behest of the Dumbo Improvement District, Jonathan Marvel Architects turned the massive structure’s storage features into seating and lighting. The alley between Adams Street and Anchorage Place was permanently open for strolling, enhanced by seating, repaved Belgian blocks and 24-hour lighting.

Dumbo archway, dumbo, public spaces
World Cup; photo courtesy of Dumbo Business Improvement District.

Dumbo archway, dumbo, public spaces
Brooklyn Greenway bike rave; photo courtesy of Dumbo Business Improvement District.

Events from memorable to low-key and familiar hosted in the Archway over the past decade have included five years of World Cup screenings, projection mapping, art installations during the Dumbo Art Festival (2009-2014), The Creator’s Project (2011), a street festival of tech and analog games that has turned the space into a giant arcade annually since 2015, the weekend home of the Brooklyn Flea and more.

Dumbo archway, dumbo, public spaces
“Gotham” TV shoot; photo courtesy of Dumbo Business Improvement District.

Dumbo archway, dumbo, public spaces
“Match-Maker,” a zodiac-inspired public art piece installed in the Dumbo Archway from March-May, 2014. Photo courtesy of Dumbo Business Improvement District.

Dumbo archway, dumbo, public spaces
Live at the Archway. Photo by Julienne Schaer, courtesy of Dumbo Business Improvement District.

Add to those events many a star turn as the backdrop for film and TV shoots including “Gotham,” “A Winter’s Tale” and more. This summer, Live at the Archway—an annual series of free concerts and arts programming—will celebrate its fifth anniversary.

Dumbo archway, dumbo, public spaces
Flight Night event, 2009; photo courtesy of Dumbo Business Improvement District.

Dumbo archway, dumbo, public spaces
Dumboween; photo by Noemie Trusty, courtesy of Dumbo Business Improvement District.

Dumbo archway, dumbo, public spaces
Chiquita Brujita Presents; photo by Mario Ruben, courtesy of Dumbo Business Improvement District.

The Archway will see yet another transformation in the years to come. A new design by AECOM’s Gonzalo Cruz will bring lighting and infrastructure upgrades to ensure the quality of the kinds of events for which the space has become known.

Friday evening’s festivities will begin at 5 p.m. The Archway’s 10th-anniversary bash will feature be world roots band Brown Rice Family, folk and alt-country group The Maybelles, Young Soon WHITE WAVE Dance Company, hula hoop troupe Big Sky Works and video art projections by Light Year in commemoration of its 50th installation. You’ll also find sculptures by Casey Opstad, photo installations by United Photo Industries, roving performances by Miss Saturn and puppeteer Kate Brehm and art exhibits within two gallery spaces.

A “photo experience” by Alloy Development and La Catrina Flower Studio will include an irreverent nod to the Archway’s storied history as a setting for film, TV and photo shoots. And, of course, food and drink aplenty will include offerings from Lunchtime Under the Archway featuring Rice and Miso Everyday, El Super, and Bread and Spread, and from the Dumbo Station, our newest concession, a beer & wine kiosk modeled after the Manhattan 3 Cent Line.

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Neighborhoods : DUMBO

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