Today’s news:

Strolling & IKEA shopping - Superstore to include 6.5-acre public esplanade

When IKEA opens its massive new store in Red Hook next week, it will also be unveiling a 6.5-acre public esplanade along Erie Basin, no charge card required.

The esplanade will feature over 9,000 plants, 558 trees, over 250 benches and chairs, and has incorporated in its design more than 50,000 cobblestones store officials said were “rescued” from the roadbed.

An 18-foot constructed compass, 12 yellow bollards, and other maritime features will also adorn the esplanade.

“We are proud to make Red Hook’s waterfront accessible to our neighbors, customers and visitors,” said Mike Baker, IKEA Brooklyn’s store manager.

“By keeping the esplanade separate from our store, buffering it with plants, trees and decorative panels and preserving many elements of the old shipyard, we have built a tribute to the site’s maritime history,” he added.

The 346,000 square foot megastore situated on 22.5 acres and will be IKEA’s first in New York City. Its grand opening is scheduled for June 18.

The esplanade will be illuminated at night in part by 115 light poles that are enhanced by decorative lights on the tables and the bridge, while other lights will highlight the four preserved and restored gantry cranes on site.

The site was once home to the United States Navy, New York Shipyard and Stevens Technical Services. Nineteen Civil War-era buildings that once stood on the site were razed to make way for the store.

Store officials said there are 13 interpretive signs along the railings, recounting the history of shipyard operations on the site.

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