The esplanade in front of a proposed Ikea superstore — added so the
project would provide hardscabble Red Hook with access to its waterfront
— will actually advertise Swedish furniture, according to the latest
Stainless steel letters embedded in the ground will hawk for-sale items
like “Nero” — a $39.99 movable bureau. And cobalt-and-yellow
company flags will dot the open pier that will border the store, plans
submitted to the city show.
The esplanade was originally included in the plan in hopes of appeasing
neighborhood concern about the store. But news that the public open space
will be corporatized has Red Hook residents hurling meatballs at the Swedish
“They’ve created a new advertising space for themselves,”
said resident Katie Dixon.
A store spokesman claimed that the flags and ads are necessary to prevent
customers from getting lost.
“We have to make sure that our shoppers find the path from the [waterfront
plaza] to the store,” Ikea spokesman Joseph Roth told The Brooklyn
In addition to the tagged-and-flagged plaza, the latest design shows that
one of two public access points to the water will be a point of entry
for delivery trucks as well.
“The city gave a variance because Ikea promised open access to the
waterfront,” said Dixon. “I am not sure how we will view the
waterfront with 17-foot high tractor trailers in the way.” The first
bright flags could be snapping over the Red Hook piers as early as this
next month, following last week’s thumbs-up by the Army Corps of
Engineers, which will allow Ikea to begin preliminary work on the 5.5-acre
Construction of the plaza and the superstore will take 19 months, Roth
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