So you may not be thrilled about their arrival, but you might be happy about the waterfront esplanade that goes with it. IKEA announced today the 6.5-acre waterfront esplanade it has built along the Erie Basin in Red Hook will open to the public when IKEA Brooklyn opens on June 18, 2008.
The store is on 22 acres along the Erie Basin waterfront in Red Hook, south of the BQE/Gowanus Expressway and southeast of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Highlights of the nearly mile-long waterfront esplanade – which will be run similar to a city park, with hours from dawn to dusk – include paved walkways and a bike path, as well as:Bountiful Landscaping – More than 9,000 plants, including shrubs such as roses, bayberry and vibernums as well as lush native and ornamental grasses, complement 558 trees – such as red cedar, black pine, white birch and Douglas fir – that create park-like settings and line the esplanade. 5,000 flowering giant allium bulbs will seed purple springtime flowers.
Historic, Maritime & Architectural Features – IKEA “rescued” more than 50,000 cobblestones – called ‘Belgian blocks’ – from the roadbed and incorporated them into the esplanade design. Also, an 18-foot constructed compass, 12 yellow bollards, many orange-painted tools, two blue winches and 24 chocks (with names of 72 ships that were repaired at the shipyard) all reflect the waterfront’s heritage. In addition, there are 13 interpretive signs along the railings, recounting the history of shipyard operations on the site. Three sculptural kiosks depict an image architecturally the sun’s shadow used to cast on the ground through ships’ masts at the shipyard.
Seating Options and Lighting Elements – More than 250 benches and chairs –representing eight different arrangements ranging from timber benches, steel and wood benches, and steel chaises to movable tables and chairs as well as traditional wood and concrete benches – will allow visitors to sit, perch, relax or recline as they admire the views. The esplanade will be illuminated at night in part by 115 light poles that are enhanced by decorative lights on the tables and the bridge, while other lights highlight the four preserved and restored gantry cranes on site.