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Ikea has finally opened in Red Hook. As the neighborhood continues to react to the massive stream of cars pouring down Van Brunt Street, The Life Vicarious scribe Adam Robb, who liveblogged his time camping out in front of the furniture chain, shares some final thoughts on the experience.
The spoils of the Ikea camp out: two free couches
Being Racked's Red Hook bureau chief for a week was like a foray into Graham Greene fantasy camp. Much like James Wormold in Our Man in Havana or Harry Pendel in John Le Carre's The Tailor of Panama, I found myself falling ass-backward ill-equipped to be embedded with the duty of espionage on the eve of revolution; the only difference being those characters were chronicling banana republics, I was assigned to an Ikea. Alas Cuba, Panama and Red Hook remain stable this morning, their residents suffering another day in heat, horns and the gridlock of inching gentrification, used American cars clogging narrow foreign streets. They'll survive because they possess superior coffee and ballfields and no amount of encroaching modernity can take away those simple pleasures.
When not reporting, I learned camping proved to be Ikea's bold metaphor for gentrification. Take a hundred people, dirty, starving, desperate and writhing on the concrete and overnight - through the opening of Ikea Brooklyn - transform the unwashed masses into happy customers devouring frozen yogurt and affordable home furnishings. Little did they know people won't surrender so easily and just moments after receiving the shipping receipt for my sofa, I went to a nearby coffee shop and begged three people for change to buy a cup of coffee and one even went out of his way to give me a clean shirt from his car before ushering me away. After all, it's a new day, I'm out of a job, and I've got to clean up nice so I can ask out the reporter from CW Channel 11.
· All Ikea Camper's Diary Posts [Racked]