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Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Brooklyn Experience

I have to tell you, although I lived in Park Slope, on St John's off the park, for three years in the early '90s, and now live in Bay Ridge, I know very little about Brooklyn outside of the immediate neighborhoods I've resided in. So, yesterday proved to be a bit of a whirlwind tour when my downstairs friend and neighbor, Kevin, took me out to other neighbs in search of cheap furnishings.

Basically, I need shelves. Because, more basically, I have thousands of cds and tons of books that need to get out of boxes, from my move, and find a home. This means lots of shelving to store them. Luckily, my new floor-through has plenty of room to accommodate the shelves. (My old Village shoebox could handle one set of shelves exactly.)

So, off we went, on the R train, to resurface at the Atlantic/Pacific Streets stop. That has a very bi-coastal ring to it, no? Well, I found myself in what seemed like absolute Third World. Toto, I don't think we're in Bay Ridge anymore! Burqas abounded! And dashikis fluttered in the wind, on merchants' racks, like colorful curtains. You might imagine how multi-culti I was feeling as we made our way toward the store I prefer to refer to as Salvatore Armi!

"I need shelves that are shallow but tall," I told Kevin. "The way you like your men," he quipped, knowingly. Unfortunately, we were informed by the salesperson there that the furniture department was temporarily closed. "Ok," Kevin said, "You don't want second-hand anyhow!" (Now he tells me!) "Let's catch the bus to Ikea. It's on 9th Street. Do you want to walk or take the subway?"

"How long a walk is it?" I inquired, always interested in pinching pennies unless cocktails are involved.

"Oh, about 10 minutes!"

Forty minutes, many beads of sweat, and several dicey streets that I wouldn't wander after sunset later, we arrived at the bus stop in Red Hook. Our sitcom-housemates relationship has gone from Mary and Rhoda to Laverne and Shirley in about a month. Red Hook is described as the new up-and-coming neighborhood in Brooklyn. It reminded me of someplace out of Last Exit to Brooklyn, or even Only the Dead Know Brooklyn. Gee, so many upbeat tomes about the borough, dont'cha know! Wonder why that is?

Eventually, we arrive at Ikea,
which rises at the end of a dreary warehouse area like the fabled Oz. ("You're out of the woods/you're out of the dark/step into the light!") We go inside. It is like the Disneyland of furniture! So many choices, so much cool stuff! So little money! I immediately have my mind set on a set of six drawers because it looks so Scandi-chic! Frosted plexiglas fronts in aqua hues for each drawer. They're shallow and the perfect height for cd storage. Not what I originally had in mind, but this will keep the cds out of sight for company and I can catalog what's inside. Perfect!

Kevin and I wander through the many showrooms, covetously cruising and fingering furniture. Not to mention sitting on couches and chairs to test for comfort (and to get off our feet for a moment). Kevin buys a beautiful red rug for his dining area.

On our way out, we walk through an area of assemble-yourself-for-lower-cost stuff. My shelves are there! We buy them to assemble at my place. (Another Laverne & Shirley misadventure to come?) I pay for delivery. Ikea is so efficiently run, you'd swear it was a German organization, as the check-out people seem attentive, on-the-ball, and we're out of there in no time. I'm told delivery will be between 6-10 pm as we're checking out at 3:30. The delivery guys arrive just before 8 pm. Perfecto!

On our way home from Oz, we discover a free shuttle bus to our R train stop to home. (Next time, we'll know to take it to the store.)

Well, it was an amazing adventure, really, and Ikea is our new monthly Mecca. I thank God for Sweden as it's given us Ikea, ABBA and Liv Ullman. And I'm happy to be back, all nice and coze, in Bay Ridge, adventure over. At least for now.

1 comment:

  1. very exciting buddy. can't wait to see the new stuff.