Businesses in DUMBO, Brooklyn Create a Sense of Place in an Unlikely Space

DUMBO Brooklyn, or the District Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, went from a manufacturing no-mans-land to a booming start-up hub and hipster haven in just a few short decades. In the 1970s, you could buy a square foot of land here for under six dollars. Today, you’ll need to shell out $1,000 for the same square foot. How did DUMBO transform itself from the ruins of the industrial revolution to the hip, cool, waterfront neighborhood it is today?  


It should come as no surprise that New York City’s start-up-hub was in fact, created by the ‘OG start-up mogul’: David Walentas. Raised poor in Rochester, N.Y., Walentas was no stranger to hard farm work and delinquent tendencies. Despite his rascal demeanor, he finished his degree in mechanical engineering in 1961 and went on to clean septic tanks in Greenland. Following a trip to visit his brother in Madrid, he soon found himself in Casablanca hanging out on the wharf looking for a ship to take him and his new white Volkswagen back to New York. A Danish freighter landed him on Brooklyn’s west shore in 1962. Like a precursor for things to come, Walentas would leave the squalor of this part of the city only to return four years later with the burning urge to become a real estate developer.

Fast forward to today and the beautiful, sun bathed, waterfront properties of modern-day DUMBO. Breaking briefly from the history of the neighborhood, what is it that draws so many tech moguls to this neighborhood? First and foremost, DUMBO has space. Space that Manhattan can not provide. Tech startups, notably Etsy, have the space and freedom to develop and branch out in a unique area just minutes from the heart of new York City: Manhattan. Now, following this commercial boom, DUMBO is not only an entrepreneur’s dream locale but also a wealthy residential hotspot-- affiliates of Donald Trump are now buying up pieces of DUMBO with the intention of creating luxury residences.


But how did David Walentas truly redefine this overlooked area of New York City? It was a veritable industrial wasteland surrounded by crime-afflicted areas, how did Walentas convince business to move to Brooklyn? Walentas has been known to attribute his success in part to the artists’ of the time who told him DUMBO was the next big thing--they had even named it DUMBO as a way to alienate developers and to keep the community amongst themselves. It took a man like David Walentas to see the beauty through despair and to capitalize on it, in true entrepreneurial fashion.

David Walentas befriended an affluent New Yorker, Jeff Byers, and sought funding through  his wealthy connections and co-founded Two Trees Management Firm, a real estate firm. The firm went on to buy properties all over New York City as well as Atlanta and Baltimore. Yet, Two Trees Management Firm only knew true DUMBO success after the controversial suicide of one of its founding members, Jeff Byers, as well as the aide from pro-development mayor, Rudy Giuliani who made it easier for developers like Two Trees to buy up DUMBO properties at a relatively low price. Two Trees hopped on the opportunity and geared it’s commercial properties towards startups. With short-term leases and lowered credit requirements, DUMBO was poised to welcome young entrepreneurs with open arms. With tech startups come businesses and affluence, and soon, DUMBO was booming.


Today, with the brand new Brooklyn Bridge Park situated on prime New York City waterfront as well as a plethora of chic coffee shops and hip classes, business in DUMBO is truly flourishing. Refurbished warehouses serve as homes to tech giants and its renovated cobblestone streets, relics of its post-industrial past, are now lined with art galleries and hipster boutiques. The brainchild of a true visionary, DUMBO is proof that sometimes success takes a particular sense of perception-- who would have thought in the 1970s that DUMBO would be the modern, exclusive, trendy Brooklyn neighborhood it is today? Although now this particular neighborhood rents at about the same price as Manhattan, it is still a world apart. Echoes from the past through its’ architecture, the space for businesses to truly grow, and the culture that only Brooklyn can supply, DUMBO is the place to be for anyone willing to take the plunge into the [mostly] lucrative world of startups. Or, live like Walentas, and keep your eye out for other industrial wastelands to transform in a matter of mere decades. In case you don’t discover the new DUMBO, sign up to this blog to keep yourself informed on all things business and travel!

Productivity Apps: What They Are and How They Can Benefit Your Workplace Teams.

Mobile applications have become a natural part of our everyday life in 2019.

With apps to plan the fastest route to work, track your fitness, and post your daily selfie game, why not apps to run your business?

Making the leap to connect your enterprise, no matter the sector, with an application may seem counterintuitive. After all, the common association with apps is the epic time-wasting social media sector. And while social media can prove a formidable force for your marketing strategies, social media also proves a distraction for many of us. I have been rather skeptical myself, preferring the ‘disconnected’ route. But what I didn’t realize is that between my email account, Facebook, and google docs, I was already more connected than I would’ve liked to admit all the while losing sacred amounts of time switching through platforms. Simply put, I’ve been wasting my time and therefore my money.

Working for a multi-national, multi-lingual writing collective means keeping in touch through pesky time-zones and the quickest exchange possible of ideas. I used to use a myriad of platforms: I used Google Docs or Pages for my drafts, Gmail for communication, and Facebook for leads. Looking back… it was a lot. An additional problem for my wandering mind was the social trap of Facebook. In an attempt to not get sucked into scrolling through my Facebook feed, I would avoid it altogether. This meant, naturally, that I would miss crucial writing opportunities. Discombobulated and spread out is not a strategic or efficient way to get things accomplished. Then we switched to Flock.

Dropbox was the closest thing to a productivity app I’ve ever used and let me tell you, that got messy quick. Efficiency is best served streamlined. In all honesty, Flock is perfectly suited for my line of work. I set alarms so I don’t miss any deadlines and I can scribble down content-related notes within the app without changing any tabs. It provides me quick communication through a simple messenger platform and it integrates seamlessly with my Google Docs account. Planning, editing, and sharing all on one easy-to-use app. Now that’s efficiency.

Be that as it may, I never said productivity applications are some type of magical potion that will somehow light a fire under your tushy. Learning how to get the most out of this technology is part of the process. Curious about how to get the most out of our newly implemented tool, I stumbled upon a useful article. It shed light on the concise behaviors of the most productive productivity-app users, their main point being: if you don’t use it, it won’t work. Seems logical, but I’m sure you too have downloaded an app only to never open again. Productivity apps work uniquely when you fuse them with your lifestyle. Personally, I’ve been implementing this useful checklist into my daily routine and applying it to the way I use the flexible Flock app and I can really attest to the difference in my overall output. Productivity apps don’t gift you the wonderful gift of productivity, they are rather tools to facilitate your pre-existing efficiency skills.

So how do you know it’s time to switch over to the virtual realm?

-Is your communication spread out over various platforms?
-Dream of a shared to-do list with your colleagues in real time?
-Is sharing content a vital practice in your trade?

You know the deal, but if you answered ‘yes’ to any of these fundamental questions, you should probably look into a productivity app. What better day to be a part of the future world of business than today?

Yet curious minds will wonder, and I couldn’t help but wonder what long-term effects, if any, would productivity apps have on the way business is run and/or will be run in the future? Lacking adequate information on this relatively new subject: the jury is divided. As the Guardian cited: “We just don’t have enough data over a long enough period of time to establish a definitive connection with workers’ productivity”. Yet there’s no denying our growing desire to squeeze more into one day as well as the liberty to be ‘in the office’ whilst out of it. Yet I offer you my humble opinion that productivity apps appear to be the only viable future for the modern on-the-go entrepreneur. Keen advice includes being aware of the size of your company with respect to the application you decide to use as well as the privacy conditions of said app. It is equally important to choose an application suitable for your line of work; there is no one-app-suits-all option. One thing is clear, we no longer possess the time nor the envy to pass our days locked in an office, losing precious time.

It’s 2019 and there’s no use fighting the almighty tug of technology. Technology can bring us together as much as it may seem to be pushing us apart. The freedom of your workspace in your pocket—on one app—is a feasible and a simple way to have a leg up on the competition. These apps, contrary to their social counterparts, are simply networking apps. And of course, a healthy network is central to any flourishing business. The age of spreading yourself thin has come to a much-needed end, my friends. As for tips and tidbits navigating the entrepreneurial universe and snippets of travel adventures, sign up to our blog. As for productivity? There’s an app for that.