While shoppers' enthusiasm for the new Brooklyn Ikea has been well documented today, opinion was decidedly mixed among residents who skipped the festivities at the new 346,000 square foot store. Jennifer Cohen, a Red Hook resident for the last eight years, voiced the most common concern, that the neighborhood's streets and buses would be overly taxed by thousands of shoppers descending on the store, which is far from the subway.
According to Cohen, the B61 is already overcrowded. (We heard multiple reports from commuters today that the B61 was unusually packed as it passed through Red Hook.) Cohen told us she's "waited for today in horror for the last three years" and is not looking forward to the waterfront landscape now being defined by "the big yellow blob" that opened its doors this morning.
But other residents were welcoming Ikea with open arms. Several people noted the jobs the store has already created for a community that has had its fair share of economic struggles through the years. Al and Lisa Kirton were shopping nearby at Red Hook's Fairway, a store that made a somewhat smoother transition into Red Hook over the last few years. They took aim at the hard-line stance of some of Ikea's opponents, saying, "Not every corporation is bad."
In the end, most residents we spoke with regarded Ikea's arrival and success over the months to come as inevitable. Perhaps Antoinette Edwards, a longtime Red Hook resident (pictured), summed it up best: "Money wins out. Rich people--they get what they want... And we sat out all night waiting for them."