Hook, Line and Sinker

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Red Hook, from Google Maps Ikea is opening its large new store in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook. We discuss the anticipated impact, as well as other community issues in one of New York City's fastest-changing 'hoods, with three guests: Robert Guskind, editor of the Gowanus Lounge blog; Lynette Wiley, co-owner of the performance space Jalopy; and Ian Marvey, co-founded of Added Value, a community organization in Red Hook.

Then, we check in with councilmember Bill de Blasio, who is sponsoring an event to discuss the future of the Gowanus Canal area and his outlook for post-industrial Brooklyn.


Bill de Blasio, Robert Guskind, Ian Marvey and Lynette Wiley

Comments [16]


1. Should have had someone from IKEA in this conversation. I'm guessing they have some edifying responses.

2. One exception to the traffic problems caused -- the traffic of ships restocking the store can not only access the loading docks of this store but also the IKEA in Elizabeth, another dock not 5 miles away. HUGE efficiency I would assume, possibly a rationale for them to build there in the first place.

May. 02 2008 10:32 PM
Bob from New Haven CT

-If you arrive by bike or subway, IKEA will deliver. Since this is NYC, many people will still arrive by public transportation. IKEA sells tons of housewares that are very carryable. I don't know but perhaps, if handled properly this could be a big boon for strategically placed street vendors (who want's to eat Swedish meatballs all day anyway).
-Traffic is NOWHERE NEAR what you see at Meadowlands on game day. I've been there.
-If you want to retain some REAL 2008 working class "grit" in your neighborhood, perhaps you should "hold your nose" and have a few more big box stores (COSCO is a great employer) and fewer cafe's, restaurants and galleries. The gentrifying class do not seek out neighborhoods with IKEA's to move to. They love "waterfront parks", small scale development...just like you (and me).
- In the end...if in 15 years ex-president trillionaire Mike Bloomberg wishes to build a new shipyard in Red Hook to construct and maintain and offload his new line of "sustainable/green" sail and solar powered container ships, and employ thousands of local tech savy sailors, roughnecks, longshoremen (or is that longshorepeople) from the neighborhood. I'm sure little ol' IKEA won't be an obstacle. A waterfront thats another matter.

May. 02 2008 01:28 PM
Bob from New Haven CT

I don't know much about Red Hook except that my 88 year old social worker mother spent many days doing home visits to poor Scandinavian merchant seaman families there in the 40's. As a resident on New Haven CT which has a 4 year old IKEA store I do have a couple of comments:
-Yes, IKEA was arrogant while planning the project to the extent that they insisted on lopping off an important piece of a landmark Marcel Breuer buiding for a few parking spaces.
-IKEA was built adjacent to a low income neighborhood. No, it hasn't become gentrified. Yes, IKEA does hire many people from the neighborhood. A well run store like IKEA still needs plenty of cashiers, loading dock people, fork lift operators, maintenance short..people with strong backs who dont mind standing for long perios of time. Not your typical gentrifying yuppie.
-Walk through any IKEA and look at who is shopping there. It's mainly working class people who...oh my gosh....actually want to buy resonably priced MODERN furniture.
-Local hardware stores, bodegas, laundramats, dry cleaners, check cashing joints, liquor stores and boxing gyms have not gone out of business.

May. 02 2008 01:27 PM
Annie Hawthorwx from Brooklyn

" Not a Red Hook Person?" Was this an ethnic person perhaps hating to be associated with The Red Hook Housing? Or a person ashamed to be associated with liberals? Not many people even want to work at an IKEA, residents or not. And if the average red hook joe or jill applied for a job. most likely THEY HAVE NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE, leaving IKEA to hire anyone from anywhere who does. Red Hook people had a lead on applying, not an in at being actually HIRED. I hate IKEA. It will ruin Red Hook. It will become Paramus.

May. 02 2008 11:27 AM
ABB from red hook, brooklyn

i found the end of carol's comment very interesting. the fact these stores come in and hire people who come from as far away as the north bronx is a shame when there are so many potential employees within walking distance. i asked a cashier if she lived in red hook once, and she made a terrible face and said, NO! Do I look like a Red Hook person?" She seemed horrified. I don't want this type of person working where I live.

May. 01 2008 08:51 PM
Pat Weber Sones from Red Hook, Brooklyn

Another comment for Bill di Blasio - there IS a comprehensive plan for revitalizing Red Hook called The 197a Plan for Redevelpment for the neighborhood that was unanimously passed by our Community Board (6) and then shot down by the City Council by refusing to provide any funding or muscle to implement the plan.

Plus, there was great active and vocal participation in the IKEA ULURP process by local residents, both pro and con. But the marriage between IKEA and the NY Shipyards by the NYC Economic Development Corporation had already been made, and the process was ceremonial only as far as most of us are concerned, including those who supported the project.

May. 01 2008 11:41 AM
Valerie Landriscina from Brooklyn, NY

I am not sure which commentator on the program mentioned that Ikea used the idea of giving Red Hook residents priority in staff hiring as an incentive to accept the construction plan. However, my architecture class visited the site recently and we discussed that Ikea has no reason to stick to this beneficent idea, mainly because it was not part of any written planning contract.

If that is true, I hope residents insist that Ikea keeps to its promises of integrating the store with the community.

May. 01 2008 11:37 AM
Carol from Brooklyn

I am so glad that you are talking about the public housing in Red Hook. whatever happens in Red Hook the overwhelming majority of people will be living in Red Hook East and West.

I had the privelege working in the neighborhood, setting up a job training program - a commercial driving program called "Red Hook on the Road". (It is now on 5th Avenue in Park Slope). It was set up ay a number of social service and local development programs. This program was set up to offer job training opportunities to the residents of the public houses.
What is special about Red Hook is that it has open spaces. there is green - there could be more and because most buildings are low - 6 stories.
Most of the time when you here about RedHook you hear about Fairway, Ikea and the influx of middle/upper class people.
My major concern is that the people who live in the public hosuses will be left out - they have some of the hghest rate of unemployment in the city. Fairway has hired some cashiers from the nieghborhood, but most ot their employess are not from Red Hook. I assume the same will happen with Ikea.
If Fairway and Ikea now start training programs with hiring commitments for the Red Hood residents that might make some sense - but a lot more has to be done to make sure that the majority of the people who live in Red Hook are the ones at the center of any discussion about making changes in the neighborhood and that there is a commitment to keep Red Hook open and green.


May. 01 2008 11:36 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Robert #4
That's a joke, right?

May. 01 2008 11:33 AM
no atlantic yards from brooklyn

please ask Bill about the rally this saturday against atlantic yards - he voted for it and now is against it.

May. 01 2008 11:32 AM
Patti from Brooklyn

Agree w/MichaelB completely - While Jalopy contributes to the community, she was not the wisest choice to speak on behalf of the neighborhood - couldn't help but think that a long time Red Hook resident with no affiliation to any group could have brought the discussion down to a much more personal level.

What a waste of waterfront -

May. 01 2008 11:28 AM
Dwayne from Brooklyn.

How are bicycles going to help people bring their new desks and chairs home? Shuttles won't help either. People will needs cabs and trucks to drag this stuff back to their tiny apartments.

Why we couldnt get NY's own Gothic Cabinet Craft such a deal I don't know.

That rooftop should be a parking lot.

May. 01 2008 11:24 AM
Robert from NYC

which subway line goes into Red Hook?

May. 01 2008 11:24 AM
MichaelB from UWS of Manhattan

I didn't catch who the female guest was, but isn't there a bit of irony that this self-described person who is a reccent arrival to Red Hook in her search for her own slice of paradise. She brings HER sensibilities to Brooklyn and claims some kind of legitimacy in speaking for it?

This is the indiviual WNYC invites to speak for the neighborhood and in particular remarking about all the old character and flavor of the neighborhood and the effects of change?

Makes little sense to me.

SHE is the face of gentrification, whether she knows it or not.

Nothing personal.

May. 01 2008 11:20 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I worry about the loss of waterfront. Am I right that access to the Erie Basin is lost to this project?

May. 01 2008 11:19 AM
Pat Weber Sones from Red Hook, Brooklyn

IKEA is a signifier of bad public policy. No real options other than this one company were considered. This IKEA site will be the company's largest store in North America. The traffic on a weekend day will be equivalent to the traffic of gameday at the Meadowlands. How can this small neighborhood community sustain the impacts on the streets and the environment? Jobs were used as a wedge and our Council member was involved in early discussions without including the entire community. Yikes!

May. 01 2008 11:14 AM

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