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Ikea Red Hook Grand Opening: Let's Get This Party Started

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Welcome to opening day at Ikea Red Hook, where in an hour's time the sleepy town of Red Hook and the whole of New York City will have bestowed upon it a shiny new blue and yellow big-box Swedish discount home megastore. The good people at Ikea fancy themselves quite the grand openers, and as such the festivities have been going since 6 AM this morning. The campers have packed up and are being ushered to their one- and two-digit slots on line. Plus, there are performers on stilts; an Ikea clown juggling bowling pins; a dj; a man dressed as, it seems, the King of Ikea; and 'Brooklyn's own musician and songwriter Jonathan Coulton', he of the Ikea theme song fame. It's your garden variety complete media circus.

At 8:15 there will be, according to the official schedule, "Remarks by Store Manager & IKEA North America president, flag-raisings, log-sawing, etc." We're live all day and this show is just getting started. (Above, in the photogallery, the doings between 6:45am and 7:45am, including the aftermath of the Great Racked T-Shirt Giveaway, about which we'll have more to show soon.) Get comfortable.

Update 7:45 AM: The cards for the free couches have been distributed.

Update 8:02 AM: Cops have arrived to assist with crowd control.

Update 8:07 AM: Holy mother, people. Number one in line gets...a plate of Swedish meatballs. At 8:07 AM.

Update 8:10 AM: Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has arrived.

Update 8:14 AM: An army of yellow shirted performers have arrived.

Update 8:30 AM: Commence the requisite blasting of 'No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn.'