The Cinematic Future of “Dumbo Heights”

Dumbo Heights. (Courtesy dumboheights.com via New York Daily News)

Dumbo Heights. (Courtesy dumboheights.com via New York Daily News)

The transformation of the Jehovah’s Witness’ Watchtower campus in Dumbo is underway. Real estate wunderkind Jared Kushner is converting the five-building complex into “Dumbo Heights” – Brooklyn’s next tech hub and commercial district. While the 1.2-million-square-foot project won’t open until next year, a new promotional video for the site was released this week. And it’s packed with more Brooklyn stereotypes than a Williamsburg brunch spot on Sunday. Here’s a shot-by-shot guide to the spring’s most epic real estate promotional film.

Inside the currently raw Dumbo Heights. (Courtesy dumboheights.com)

Inside the currently raw Dumbo Heights. (Courtesy dumboheights.com)

It starts in complete abstraction. A scratching record and flashing light leave the viewer completely disoriented until—aha!—coordinates flash onscreen: 40.7031N, 73.9894W. But what do they mean? Where are we? They’re just numbers, none of this makes any sense. Suddenly, it all becomes clear. A sweeping, aerial shot shows us that we’ve arrived. We’ve arrived at Dumbo Heights. Or rather, some currently existing office meant to look like Dumbo Heights. Cut to a blonde 20-something marching through that office. Lights turn on as she moves through the space. She is likely some sort of celestial programmer, or celestial social media coordinator. Before we know which, she disappears. A man arrives. He is dressed in Brooklyn: a beard, a plaid shirt, and is holding a fixed-gear bike. His dog follows behind him. How did the dog get to the office so fast? Was he also on a fixed-gear? It’s the film’s first mystery. Another young professional appears wearing a bow-tie. To his left, a woman smiles below a floppy hat. They’re young. They’re fun. This is Dumbo Heights. More people. More Apple computers. More dogs. More Plaid. More Brooklyn. There is a tent set up in the middle of an office. Why is there a tent sent up in the middle of an office? And why are people meeting in it? The second great mystery.

Roof terrace at Dumbo Heights. (Courtesy dumboheights.com via New York Daily News)

Roof terrace at Dumbo Heights. (Courtesy dumboheights.com via New York Daily News)

Look! That guy with the plaid and beard is back. He steps into the tent and smiles. He’s been welcomed by the group. The meeting can commence. More meetings between young professionals cuts to a recording studio, which cuts to a pug running in slow motion. Run little pug, run. “Co-creation” is written on a whiteboard by a white hand. There is an architectural rendering on a table next to a tiny cactus. And then, all of a sudden, children and horses are swinging around Jean Nouvel’s Jane’s Carousel. They disappear. A bearded fellow takes their place. He’s swinging a bottle of liquor behind a bar. Another bow-tied gentleman raises his chalice. “Cheers,” he seems to be saying. “Cheers to us and cheers to Dumbo Heights. Hooray!” The alcohol gives way to coffee and a latte artist dripping milk across his dark-roast canvas.

The Dumbo Heights campus. (Courtesy dumboheights.com via New York Daily News)

The Dumbo Heights campus. (Courtesy dumboheights.com via New York Daily News)

A woman pulls her friend across the Brooklyn Bridge at dusk. She is squarely in the bike lane, but is this real life? More people working, smiling, and two more dogs. One is sleeping; the other is trying to lick the stubble off its owner’s face. There’s that guy in plaid again. Where is he going this time? Somewhere, and he’s moving fast. A sweeping shot of Dumbo, and—you cannot be serious—a typewriter. What is it writing? Dumbo Heights. Fin. [h/t New York Daily News]

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