I Get No Red Hook
It looks like there's little danger of this turning into a blog that obsesses over transaltantic differences. Nope, we've seen the future, and it's a fatuous melange of nimbyism, godawful movies and C-list Brooklyn celebrities. So, it was with consideable glee that we spied the mighty Lou, owner of the Brazen Head on NY1 (link to Realplayer file), opposing the new Red Hook Ikea, approved yesterday.
We like Lou, even when he's being irrascible, and despite the fact that we got bladdered an entire year in his hostelry without him ever saying hello. Although we were somewhat taken aback by the sign outside the 'Head during the Antic saying "the customers and staff of the Brazen Head wish to congratulate Lou on his 60th birthday", which struck us as a mite totalitarian. If you switch "customers and staff" with "inhabitants of Mungo", and "Lou" with "Emperor Ming", you wouldn't have a note out of place.
But Lou was good on the telly, pointing out that Red Hook isn't designed for hordes of furniture hunting fiends. We had no idea that he put his feet up in the Hook, but would like to add that the main rationale for the project, bringing an Ikea to New York City, has been negated by the fact that its impossible to get to via public transport. If people have a car they might as well go to the Jersey store. Seems to us that the kindly Swedish corporation is much less interested in adapting to its surroundings than corporate America's own Home Depot, which opened a well-received Manhattan store providing what the denizens of the island want.
Ikea's old-school, nay Ratneresque, plan involves babbling unconvincingly about jobs while scheming to knock down some very beautiful dock buildings, as Bill Streuver notes. Meanwhile, the Long Island people will stick to the Hicksville store, the Manhattan people will still find Jersey an easier schlep, and the poor guys at the bus stop on Van Brunt have too deal with more idiots.
The only saving grace is that the New York Times, without much of a stake in Ikea's future, is being reasonably even-handed.
The headline? Rodney Dangerfield R.I.P. We were never fans, but it was good to have him around.