It was actually across the New York harbor, but that’s as close to the sea as I can get without a VERY long subway ride. The ride from 155th Street to Fulton Street on the C train was long enough. Then there was the walk to Pier 11 from the subway station. I was on my way to IKEA, a sort of wonderland.
The first time I ever encountered IKEA was sometime in the early ‘90s, on East 57th Street. I was working at a shoe store on 53rd and Lex and would wander around the streets at lunchtime. There was a Daffy’s on 57th as well, another cold day hangout.
The first thing I ever bought at IKEA was a wooden wall hanging of a green and red dragon that I bought for my young son’s bedroom. He loved that dragon so much it figures in some of the drawings he did as a child. I’ve still got one somewhere, but since we’re not done unpacking, I can’t find it to post a pic.
So 23 years later I’m still shopping at IKEA, though it’s not as convenient as it used to be. When we lived in Brooklyn we would take a train and a bus, and the B57 bus on Flushing Avenue delivered you right to the front door of IKEA in about an hour and a half, about what it took for me to get there on Tuesday from Hamilton Heights.
I love going on ferries on the river, ever since the first time my mother took us on the Staten Island ferry, which we did for fun, as we didn’t know anybody on Staten Island. I’ve gone to Governor’s Island on the ferry, but that’s a really short ride.
In the early ‘90s the Williamsburg Bridge was closed for a couple of years and we (my first wife and me and the kid) took the newly commissioned Williamsburg ferry for a while, though it was a bigger hassle than the G train to the L train; because it was more fun. I love being on a bouncing boat on the water feeling the water spray on my face and the wind whipping my hair around.
I didn’t get to go up top on the way there Tuesday, as the first bunch of people charged ahead and filled it up right away. I rode inside and took a few pictures; saw a ship with a lifeboat like the one in Captain Phillips:
There was only one cargo ship docked on the Brooklyn waterfront. When I was a kid there were dozens, if not more.
The N.Y. Water Taxi that has the IKEA contract made its way south, past Governor’s Island, past Brooklyn Heights and the big Watchtower building, past the abandoned loading docks and piers, and finally to our first stop at Fairway Brooklyn. I briefly toyed with the idea of getting off at Fairway and then walking to IKEA, after all, I did need lettuce. But a head of lettuce wasn’t worth the long walk
As we pulled out and turned south again, our intrepid pilot had to stop to let some fueling boat try and dock in a slip just around the corner from Fairway. Of all the time and water there is out there he choses here and now to dock his ship.
It was called the Scotty Sky and the Scotty Sky’s captain couldn’t quite manage the maneuver and had to back off and try again.
Our guy tired of waiting, and with a mighty roar of our jet turbine engine he pulled away and took a long hard turn around the Scotty Sky, our wake bouncing him around some.
I was going to IKEA to get some shelf brackets primarily. I liked the shape and look of these:
They cost $2 apiece. At Home Depot something similar was $11 apiece, and not as nice looking. That’s the great thing about IKEA, their clean and simple design, something worth traveling for.
I also got this, a glass shelf for the bathroom:
And I found a fabric blind for $14, a comparable one at Home depot was $70, if you could find the right size. The custom cut it for you for $98 apiece, luckily at IKEA they had the right size for my window, pre-cut.
What I didn’t find were hooks for my kitchen steel bar rack, I needed extras and they sell them separately, but the bad thing about IKEA that it’s so immense and the stock is in so many different places that I got frustrated trying to find the hooks, and besides, I didn’t want to miss the ferry and wait 40 minutes for the next one.
After I paid for my stuff and deducted the $5 ferry fare from my total I headed to the food department, it’s been our habit (Danusia and mine) to get a bag of frozen Swedish meatballs every time we go to IKEA. We love them and they’re good to have for a quick dinner in a pinch. Now they even have big Swedish hams! I got some smoked salmon as well, cheaper than anything at either Fairway or Whole Foods. I hope it’s not too salty. I always pass on the IKEA honey buns, though they are good. When I worked at the building anytime an IKEA furniture assembly crew would come they always gave the staff a big package of honey buns as a tip, that’s how I know.
But I did get some chocolate.
I only waited 15 minutes for the next ferry, and this time I went up top. The bad thing was that the sky had darkened and it looked like it was going to rain any minute. The wind had picked up and it was cold on deck. I wanted to take more pictures, but I shot a ten second video and my phone immediately died. That will be the subject of my next post, replacing my 2-year old iPhone that doesn’t hold a charge anymore.
On my way back to the train with a very heavy blue IKEA bag I spotted a Key Food across from the train station. I got my lettuce and boarded the train back uptown, hoping to beat the rain home.