Dumbo is an historic neighborhood in Brooklyn. Part of it, Fulton’s Landing, is the old wharf, faces Manhattan. It smells like the nineteenth century when Boss Tweed ruled and they began building the Brooklyn Bridge. And speaking of bridges, that’s where Dumbo gets its name. It’s an acronym for “Down Under the Brooklyn and Manhattan Overpasses,” and it’s loaded with all kinds of fascinating buildings, some from early in the 1800s, others from the Civil War, still others, light industrials built in the early twentieth century and today housing loft studios and tech companies and condos. I love walking its cobbled streets. Fina does, too.
Here’s an excerpt from Whiskey’s Gone. The scene is pure Fina. Hoping to learn more about the missing woman, Whiskey Parnell, Fina is on the way to interview a painter.
I texted for an Uber, asking the driver to drop me off underneath the overpasses, and a few minutes later, I was walking down Water Street, the sounds of Dumbo pricking my ears and giving me a mini vacation. I love this area of Brooklyn with its old cobbles and smell of the river and the scent of long-ago spices. It has an energy hard to describe. My favorite history teacher told us it was an old wharf area and had buildings dating back to the eighteenth century.
But I couldn’t stand around smelling the water, I had fish to fry, so I gave Lorraine a call to see if she’d heard anything and to tell her I was following up on some leads. She hesitated before answering. I squeezed the phone because I know Lorraine and her pauses, but she resisted asking about Denny. Instead, she said Maddie and Robert were playing Scrabble. She followed with, “Have you heard from Denny?” I thought I heard fear in her voice.
“He got home early but had to leave.” I’m such a liar, but Lorraine bought it or maybe she didn’t but was too polite to say anything. I imagined her biting her lip and felt her knowledge boring through me. Right now, however, I could sense she was more worried about Whiskey than Denny—weren’t we all. She didn’t have to say it, no one had seen Whiskey. I told Lorraine I’d check in later with her and was about to hang up when she told me she’d heard about my car.
I went numb. Who was updating Lorraine? I hadn’t told her about my slashed tires, I figured she had enough to worry about.
“That blonde detective told me. You weren’t going to say anything, were you?” Lorraine’s voice seemed faraway, like she was in a tunnel, but maybe it was me.
“You have enough on your plate,” I managed.
“But I might have information that would shed some light,” she said in a low voice.
Her gentle rebuke hit me in the gut.
Photo: Detail, Dumbo in March 2008. Credit: Jim Henderson, Wikipedia Commons.