Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Red Hook Ikea Reconsidered: Not So Bad?

August 11th, 2008 · 3 Comments

[Image courtesy of Adrian Kinloch/Brit in Brooklyn]

The Ikea in Red Hook was one of those projects that created strong opinions on both sides: among those who said it would destroy the neighborhood and those who thought the benefits would outweigh the problems. Two months later, the neighborhood isn’t gridlocked, but the store has definitely had an impact and today the Times takes a look at the issue and concludes, in effect, that the store “has turned out to be less annoying than people thought.” Here’s an excerpt:

But since the store opened, something unexpected has happened. Ikea has won grudging acceptance from some of its detractors, who admit, somewhat sheepishly, that the feared blue box has brought perks enjoyed even by those who have no interest in stepping into the store. There is the daily water taxi and shuttle bus service provided free by Ikea, technically for its customers…The grassy waterfront esplanade that Ikea built, featuring benches with a view of the Lower Manhattan skyline, framed by remnants of Red Hook’s maritime past, is also catching on as a neighborhood attraction.

And the onslaught of Ikea-generated traffic that so many predicted has yet to materialize. Indeed, traffic is so light on some days that a rumor started among locals that Ikea was actually turning out to be a customer-starved failure (Ikea said its store was meeting its financial expectations).

The article doesn’t include any figures on Ikea’s local hiring (which the retailer won’t release) or actual traffic stats. There is, of course, more to be said on the subject, not to mention neighborhood discussion (one email we got calls the story “rather absurd”) but that’s today’s take.

Tags: Ikea · Red Hook

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Brenda from Flatbush // Aug 11, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Funny, but on my first visit last week this was exactly my reaction: “Hey, this is pretty damn nice.” The loss of some moody and picturesque ruins is sad, but the net gain for the community seems incalculable (and I HATE change and development). And in weekly trips down to the area, I have yet to encounter a single incident of Ektorp gridlock.

  • 2 Anonymous // Aug 11, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    sorry. I don’t like the traffic at all hours and the HUGE shuttle bus, big enough for 300 people, trying to turn corners onto Columbia street from Summit street. What are they doing there??? Or on Union Street. What are they doing there?? That large a bus is totally unneeded watse..

  • 3 Red Hook // Aug 11, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    I think it sucks.

    The article confuses indifference with approval. They are not remotely the same animal.

    These days, with the Iraq War grinding on and the economy in shambles, “not so bad” has somehow become equated with “meets approval” in the media.

    Someday when AY is built, we’ll see the same ridiculous article. When it is only half as bad as we thought it would be, the Times will measure this as a rousing success.