Props for IKEA(?!)

Who would have thought, in all the hand-wringing and histrionics that accompanied the entrance of IKEA to Red Hook, that less than a year later they’d be winning awards for their service to the community?

Photo: Jacob Silberberg for the New York Times

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports that our big blue friend down Beard Street was just awarded The Norman Buchbinder Award for Neighborhood Beautification.

OK, so the award was given by that finger-on-the-pulse-of-the-neighborhood organization…Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  Though there may be room for IKEA to continue to grow into its place and responsibility in the neighborhood, though, you’d  be hard pressed to deny that the esplanade is a nice bit of greenery in an otherwise fairly unwelcoming stretch of blocks:

“It features a paved bike and walkway, extensive new foliage and landscaping, well-lit seating areas and a publicly accessible pier extending into the Erie Basin. IKEA restored cranes, preserved shipyard artifacts, and constructed maritime mementos to highlight the waterfront past of the site.”

Just yesterday, as I was out distributing flyers for DTE’s Saturday hip hop class, I ran into a group of girls, from the neigborhood, taking a walk to the esplanade just because it was there.  Points awarded to IKEA on this one.

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