Red Hook might not be the textbook definition of “the great outdoors,” but on Monday, June 16, expect to see people descending upon the neighborhood with camping gear.
Mike Baker — manager of the Brooklyn IKEA store which opens on Wednesday, June 18 — told GO Brooklyn that he expects to see hundreds of people waiting in line for days in anticipation of the grand opening of the Swedish lifestyle behemoth’s 281st store, and its very first in New York City.
And they wouldn’t be as crazy and you’d think.
The first 35 adults in line will receive a free sofa at the grand opening, and the next 100 will take home a complimentary armchair.
While some will be going home without a free couch, there will be losts of winner. Prizes, such as tropical plants, gift cards and balloon animals for the kids, will be doled out for the entire first week.
When all the plants are dead and balloon giraffes popped, though, what Brooklyn will be left with is a prize in itself.
The 346,000-square-foot store, stocked with over 10,000 products, is more than just another big box plunked down in the red-hot-for-retail borough.
The store even offers childcare, in Smaland, which is decked out in a contemporary forest theme.
Calling Kings County “the heart of New York City,” Baker walked GO Brooklyn through the store and showed off the usual wares — from inexpensive, do-it-yourself furniture to high-end, designer kitchens — but also touted the way that Brooklyn inspired this store’s design.
This IKEA features three mock apartments: a 375-square-foot dwelling that made everyone think — and one person say out loud — “Why can’t I do this to my tiny apartment?”; a 590-square-foot, two-bedroom, based on a brownstone apartment in Carroll Gardens; and finally, a 275-square-foot loft that, while crowded, had enough IKEA-brand storage options crammed into it that you might never notice you’re living in a breadbox.
Additionally, the store features 45 room sets in which absolutely everything — from the drapes to the lightbulbs — are available for purchase.
If the only design ideas you’re interested in are your own, that’s fine, too. The store offers everything from throw pillows to entertainment centers, and even has employees on hand to help you lay out your own kitchens and bathrooms.
IKEA also scores points for knowing what every Brooklynite wants more than anything: a little bit of outdoor space. And while there are potted plants that you could perch on your fire escape, or glasses that you could drag up to the roof, the store does you one better.
Outside of the massive building, on the Red Hook waterfront, sits a six-acre esplanade complete with benches, tables and a stunning view of the Statue of Liberty and the harbor.
Sure, the 450-seat restaurant, which serves inexpensive breakfast, lunch and dinner options, has a similar view, but GO Brooklyn would rather stock up on snacks at the market downstairs and chomp away al fresco.
Another perk? While you’re noshing on “pepparkakor” (thin Swedish ginger cookies) and drinking an elderberry juice outside, IKEA can arrange to have your purchases couriered to your home.
For $39, you can cram a three-cubic-foot box with your haul and have it delivered to your stoop (additional boxes are $10), and for $79, the big stuff can be delivered day-of or next day.
So, while shuttle bus service will be running regularly to the Smith-Ninth Street stop on the F and G trains, the Ninth Street R train station, the Fourth Avenue stop on the F train, and to Borough Hall, this is a brilliant idea.
Why? Because mass transit to the store is hit or misss. After we left IKEA, we waited for the B77 bus stop for about 10 minutes before calling a car service.
That was good enough for carrying a messenger bag, but with a sack full of smartly designed new toys? That would be an adventure.
IKEA (1 Beard St. at Otsego Street in Red Hook) will open at 9 am on June 18. Customers can begin waiting in line at 9 am on June 16. For information, call (718) 246-4532 or visit www.ikea-usa.com.