Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Graving Dock Update

Tipsters reported to B61 Productions that Ikea began filling in the Todd Shipyard graving dock in Red Hook sometime last month. It had been thought that Ikea was waiting for approval from the Army Corps of Engineers before committing to tearing down the historic 19th century graving dock to turn it into a parking lot.

The Gowanus Lounge has a recent update on what Ikea is doing. In speaking to the Carroll Gardens Courier, Ikea's spokesperson pooh-poohed criticisms of the project and tried to make it sound as though the nay-sayers were all from outside New York. Blaming those craaaazy outside agitators is a common way of trying to rebut organizing, but it's an odd tack for Ikea to take when talking to a local Brooklyn paper.

When the question is "should Ikea come to Brooklyn?," there are strong feelings and good reasons on both sides of the issue. That's not the question, though (we're a little past that point). I go to the Gowanus Lounge for his incisive analysis:
We have many things to say about Ikea's offensive brush off of legitimate concerns, but will limit ourselves to a few: First, it's bad PR to broadcast blatant disregard for the community in which you are building. There are legitimate divisions of opinion regarding the Ikea Red Hook. There are strong critics that object to Ikea's location. There are strong supporters who welcome it. There are an awful lot of people in between, who don't think that a few compromises--like saving the graving dock--are so out of line.

We have nothing against Ikea, per se. We have dealt with execs at existing Ikea locations and have found them to be decent and community-minded people. On the whole, we find Ikea's corporate behavior less troubling than, say, Wal-Mart and other huge firms, but we think Ikea's position on the graving dock is wrong and its attitude is nothing short of arrogant. (We'll leave aside its brutish demolition of historic buildings, of which we're not big fans either.)
Hear, hear.

Photo: Inauguration of the Todd Shipyard Graving Dock from the Brooklyn Historical Society.

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