Since its opening in 2008, the IKEA megastore in Red Hook has provided the Brooklyn community with do-it-yourself furniture and its trademark Sweedish Meatballs. However, the waterfront location has been historically hard to access using public transportation.
The B61 bus route is the only mass transportation option that goes directly to the store, which for many people involves a transfer at Smith-9th Street Station from the sluggish G train. When the NYC Ferry system launched in 2017, shoppers were filled with a new hope that the service would improve access to the IKEA store. However, the Red Hook stop for the ferry system is still a mile and a half away from the store, well out of walking distance for many.
To remedy this problem, IKEA turned to the private sector.
This past week, IKEA announced that it has reached an agreement with two different ferry services that will supply direct service to the Red Hook wharf directly next to the store.
The ferries will be operated by the company NY Waterway, famous for its boat and bus tours in Manhattan. Service began on Saturday, July 3rd, and will bring shoppers directly from Manhattan to the Brooklyn store.
“We hope to make the trip to IKEA a little bit easier and a lot more pleasant with a free ferry ride from our Manhattan terminals,” Armand Pohan, CEO and chairman of NY Waterway wrote in a statement on June 30th. “We’re excited to partner with IKEA to launch this new service for the summer.”
Mike Baker, IKEA’s New York Market manager agreed: “At IKEA we believe that sustainability, accessibility and affordability should be included in every aspect of our customers’ journey,” he said
The ferries will pick up passengers at three locations throughout Manhattan. These include a Midtown Location at Pier 79, a Battery Park City location near Brookfield Place, and a Financial District Location at Pier 11. Boats will travel directly from these locations to the IKEA store’s Brooklyn pier.
IKEA’s new ferry service arrives after a rough couple of months along New York City’s waterways. Early in June, a New Jersey ferry operated by the company Seastreak experienced a crippling malfunction mid journey, sending the vessel careening into the Brooklyn shoreline near Bushwick Inlet Park. Multiple travellers sustained injuries, but none fatal. The ferry itself experienced severe damage along its hull.
Elsewhere in North Brooklyn, the NYC Ferry landing in Greenpoint closed suddenly late in May and is still yet to reopen. The service change was attributed to a “mechanical issue,” and the MTA has since set up a free shuttle bus between Greenpoint and Hunters Point South that mimics the ferry route.
The Greenpoint landing and the entire NYC Ferry system are operated by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), not the MTA.