Art + Culture

Introducing the DUMBO Reflector

The interactive DUMBO Reflector, commissioned by the DUMBO Improvement District in honor of its tenth anniversary, arrives in the John Street section of Brooklyn Bridge Park today, serving as both a technologically advanced welcome sign, and a celebration of the artistic culture and tech-forward legacy of DUMBO. The creation of the sign, by DUMBO-based multimedia artist David Crumley, with fabrication by Gamma, utilizing the iconic neighborhood logo spelling out “DUMBO” by smartassdesign, is part of DUMBO’s Test Kitchen program.

The DUMBO Reflector shows the spirit of the neighborhood in both static and dynamic forms, and measures twelve feet wide by nine feet tall. The surface of the letters on the sign are mirrored, and the sign can come to life instantly with various animations and light patterns through the usage of social media hashtags, which can be programmed to reflect topical issues or community events. Tech companies in the neighborhood are invited to suggest new hashtag ideas. The first programmed hashtag include #DUMBOselfie and  #DUMBOwedding (nods to the neighborhood’s status as one of New York City’s premier spots for photography); #DUMBOMagic – an ultimate decider feature, which delivers a “magic eight ball”-style randomized display to help anyone sort through pressing issues of the day using color-coded animations.

Following its debut at Brooklyn Bridge Park, where it will be the first ever art installation at the newly opened John Street section, the sign will travel throughout the community.

Additional features of the DUMBO Reflector include a binary clock, which keeps time on the hour; traffic status information delivery for the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges using data from the New York City Department of Transportation (and also available on demand using #DUMBOTraffic); and the distribution of weather information every ten minutes using data from Darksky.

The installation is constructed from DIBOND mirrored aluminum composite, acrylic two-way mirrors, and stainless steel supports, and it is lit from within by 400 Enttec RGB LED Dots connected to an Enttec Pixelator. Two custom software applications—a cloud server for remote administrative control and a local application, developed in TouchDesigner, to send content to the installation—were created to drive the Reflector’s content and interactivity. The two applications are able to communicate bi-directionally using WebSocket objects and JSON data.

“I designed the DUMBO Reflector to literally reflect the culture of DUMBO back onto itself,” said multimedia artist David Crumley. “At its core, community is the people and scenes that inhabit a place, and the digital interactive features of the sign provide a commentary on how we interact in our communities today, how dialogue takes place, and the need for physical space and art to bring us together.”

”We wanted to take the idea of a traditional welcome sign and give it the royal DUMBO treatment. The DUMBO Reflector is a physical reminder of the vibrancy of this community and our commitment to creativity, innovation and yes, it’s a pretty awesome photo op,” said Alexandria Sica, Executive Director of the DUMBO Business Improvement District. “We are thrilled to bring this interactive installation that truly epitomizes the DUMBO spirit to the community.”

“Opening the John St and Main St sections of Brooklyn Bridge Park has really strengthened our connection to the DUMBO community,” said Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park. “Unveiling the DUMBO Reflector at John Street is a great way to celebrate our partnership with the neighborhood and with the DUMBO Improvement District.”

About the DUMBO Improvement District
The DUMBO Improvement District, founded in 2006, is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing and promoting DUMBO, Brooklyn—a bustling enclave on the waterfront where quintessential old New York charm meets creative Brooklyn at its very best. The DUMBO Improvement District showcases DUMBO as a world-class destination, advocating on behalf of DUMBO’s businesses, property owners and residents, and amplifying its creative and innovative vibe through The Archway programming, public art, free WiFi, public space maintenance and the #DUMBOVIP card, among other initiatives. For more information, visit

About Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park spanning 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline. As steward of the park, BBP has transformed this previously deteriorated stretch of waterfront into a world-class park where the public can gather, play, relax and enjoy sweeping views of New York Harbor. The self-sustaining park was designed by the award-winning firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and features expansive lawns, rolling hills, waterfront promenades, innovative playgrounds, sports facilities and the popular Jane’s Carousel. BBP serves thousands of people on any given seasonal day, who come to picnic, walk their dogs, play soccer, jog, bike or roller skate. Brooklyn Bridge Park is a signature public investment for the 21st Century and will be an enduring legacy for the communities, elected officials and public servants who made it happen.

Photo by Julienne Schaer.