Red Hook, Brooklyn, is a peninsula reaching into New York Harbor, with spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan. The Red Hook waterfront is more than a mile from the nearest highway off-ramp, it has no subway, and it has narrow cobblestone streets.
Here are ten reasons, not all of them included in the Ikea-Red Hook lawsuit, why the far-reaching consequences of Ikea-Red Hook will damage not only Red Hook, Brooklyn, but the City of New York.
1. Ikea – Red Hook will create bad precedent for New York City’s future dealings with big box stores. It will encourage big boxes to pick inappropriate sites and to insist on building blank-walled warehouses, without sidewalk entrances, without show windows, and without any attempt to fit into New York City’s traditional neighborhoods and urban streets.
2. It will introduce a gigantic suburban transplant into the street grid of Red Hook, Brooklyn. It will tilt the balance in Brooklyn away from New York City’s tradition of transit-oriented neighborhoods and towards suburban automobile-dependency. It will lead inevitably to the demand for additional expressways, with additional suburban sprawl, inside New York City.
3. It will cause traffic to back up on the already-overburdened, and soon-to-be-rebuilt, Gowanus Expressway. It will so greatly increase traffic on local streets that it will imperil local businesses whose trucks need to use the streets as well as endangering local residents.
4. It will create bad precedent for New York City’s future treatment of neighborhood planning, encouraging multinational corporations to come into New York City, create their own pressure groups, and use big spending to override community 197-a plans like the Red Hook 197-a plan that the City Planning Commission approved in 1996.
5. It will blight the historic New York City waterfront with a mammoth billboard for Ikea, visible from the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan.
6. It will raise real estate values in Red Hook from the modest level for manufacturing, with its high economic multiple, to the level for big retail, which adds little to the local economy, thus increasing demand for re-zoning from manufacturing to retail and driving out manufacturers who lease their space, plus manufacturing jobs. This is just when the Mayor is announcing the importance of manufacturing areas.
7. It will send local income away from New York City to Ikea headquarters, instead of that income’s flowing through New York City’s banks, professional firms, service businesses and suppliers.
8. It will deaden the creative synergy of New York’s manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and designers. It will substitute an out-of-town formula for local ingenuity.
9. It will force local shopkeepers out of business, deaden local shopping streets, and destroy more jobs in local retail stores and distributorships than it creates.
10. It will tear up cobblestone streets, bulldoze historic structures on the Erie Basin, and incapacitate the historic graving dock. ####