Hook Ikea will make locals see blue

The Brooklyn Paper
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Call it Blue-and-Yellow Hook.

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 design.

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 firm.

“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 Papers.

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 plaza.

Construction of the plaza and the superstore will take 19 months, Roth said.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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