The New York Times

12 Nov 2014

“It’s a little jewel,” said Dale Nichols, a furniture conservator who in 2005 bought a clapboard house on Hudson for $1 million “with eyes wide open that it needed everything, which all those houses do.”

Mr. Nichols and his wife, Jennifer Goldberg, rent the storefront, a former 19th-century grocery, to the owners of Vinegar Hill House, who have transformed it into an airy event space called Hillside, where a dinner series takes place. Mr. Nichols walks to work at a restoration studio he rents near the Commandant’s House, a striking Federal-style mansion built around 1806 that overlooks the Navy Yard.

Residents say a smattering of new apartment buildings has made area streets feel safer, and foot traffic is likely to increase further. At 80 Hudson, a 76,700-square-foot warehouse is on the leasing market for potential development as offices or for other commercial uses, possibly with ground-floor retail.

A few blocks west, large-scale development is underway. On Bridge Street, considered by many the border between boomtown Dumbo and sleepy-hamlet Vinegar Hill, a pair of old freight rails runs across the Belgian-block street and right into the lobby of the Kirkman Lofts, a soap factory converted to condominiums in 2011. The impression is of Dumbo’s industrial chic and general fabulousness racing eastward, almost literally. Next door to Kirkman, a new brick residential building is rising at 47 Bridge. Known asWaterbridge 47, it is planned as a swanky 25-unit condo, complete with a wine-tasting room.