Ikea is practically its own sovereign Swedish colony on the banks of the Gowanus Bay. So it only makes sense that the store has its own intricate system of transit involving everything save for aircraft (so far, at least). But which mode of transport is the best for you? And by that, of course, we mean: which one is the cheapest? Herein then we lay out the specific costs of all the different ways to transport your Ektorp or Aspelund back to your apartment so you can choose smartly, and not fall into the fjord of poor decisions.
To standardize the results, we picked a set address, that of the now-fabled “stash spot” from Jay-Z’s banger “Empire State of Mind,” 560 State St. And we picked a standard item to test across all platforms: the Kullen, a three-door beast of a wardrobe that comes in two boxes and clocks in at $149 dollars and 228 pounds, which we choose as a fair representative of a difficult-to-transport item (and maybe hoping for some accidental search traffic for New Moon fans).
Total Cost: $149
Not to come off as biased or anything, but if you choose to have your item delivered directly from Ikea’s Web site, you are D-U-M dumb. Getting our Kullen delivered from Ikea.com comes out to a whopping $149—a 100 percent shipping fee, meaning you could get two Kullens (Kulli?) for the same price!!
Plus the earliest delivery we could get was in eight to 11 days, and only during weekday business hours, when we’re never home.
If you still wish to choose this option, please instead send $148 to Tim Donnelly, c/o Brokelyn.com, and he will personally pick up your item from the store and bring it to your doorstep on the very same day along with a complimentary package of Swedish meatballs.
Total cost: $25-35 for a van
Typically, a crowd of guys with vans and cars station themselves across the street from the store (and sometimes hand out cards at the Borough Hall shuttle stop), offering to take your junk home. You have to approach them with all the subtlety of a drug deal, and they speak in whispered tones.
Downside: Dealing with unlicensed delivery folks has its risks. Plus, prices may vary depending on who’s out there. And we bet getting them to climb the flights of stairs will involve extra dough.
Total cost: Free
The complimentary shuttle runs to Smith and 9th, 4th and 9th and Borough Hall subway stations from 3pm to 9pm daily Monday through Friday and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. While it’s free, odds are it doesn’t take you anywhere near your door.
Downside: One time, this summer, my roommate and I were on the shuttle carrying a futon chair and a bag full of goodies when the thing broke down, stranding us in some godforsaken part of Red Hook for 40 minutes. We ended up having to call a cab anyway because the replacement shuttle was nowhere in sight.
Total cost: Prices are all over the board, with some listed as $50 per hour with a two-hour minimum to $30 per hour, to some that invite you to just make an offer.
Craigslist is loaded with ads for man-with-a-van guys willing to take you home from Ikea under the services labor/move section. Prices here vary wildly, as do spelling and punctuation. Some say they will bring blankets, dollies and other things to help the move and others offer assembly services.
Downside: It’s Craigslist, so you’re walking the fine line between cheapness and downright sketchiness. For all you know, this could be the person who comes to pick you up.
Total cost: About $30 for up to two hours (including your gas expense); $19.95 an hour and 99 cents a mile after that (plus gas).
The store has a U-Haul desk stationed by the exit for your convenience. Both vans and trucks are available and the flat rate is $9.95 an hour for up to two hours.
Downside: A whole U-Haul truck or van may be larger than you need. Those trucks guzzle gas like Jay-Z sips Mai Tais.
Total cost: $119 (including additional walk-up charges to the fifth floor)
Ikea’s in-store delivery service (operated by Urban Express) has a flat rate of $89 for bringing your stuff around Brooklyn. Anything over 1,000 pounds cost an extra 10 cents per pound. You can choose from next-day or same-day delivery, and they give you a four-hour window to chose from.
Downside: Four hours can be a long time to sit around waiting for your furniture, and there’s a $30 fee if you have to cancel or reschedule the delivery. And the fee only includes delivering up three floors of a walk-up building. After that, it’s $15 per floor. But if you’ve got a half ton of furniture…
Total cost (Arecibo in Park Slope): $10 for a town car plus tip; more for a larger car
Arecibo said our trip would cost just $10 for a regular town car, but the price varies for larger cars such as minivans and Suburbans. The guy couldn’t give an estimate (“it depends on what you have”) but we’re pretty confident we could cram our Kullen boxes into the car, even if it means riding shotty.
Downside: I’m not sure if there is a downside here.
Total cost (Enterprise Rental Car in Park Slope): Intermediate SUV: $76.71 per day; economy car: $46.74 per day. Both do not include gas costs, which will run you between $10 and $20 bucks to and from Ikea with current gas prices.
Renting a car gives you the flexibility to move on your own schedule. Plus, you’ve got the car for the whole day! Do your big grocery shopping! Go apple-picking upstate! Turn up the radio’s bass and cruise down the street blasting “Run This Town!”
Downside: Ugh gas prices. Ugh street parking.
Total cost: $4.50 roundtrip bus fare
Same deal as the subway in terms of cost, but the bus will get you closer to the store itself. The B77 (which originates at 10th Street and 5th Avenue in Park Slope) and B61 (which goes to Greenpoint and Queens) take you right to Ikea. Bus drivers will let you haul one of the big boxes onto the bus.
Downside: While it is feasible to fit the large boxes into through the door and onto an open seat, a packed bus will leave you no place to stash the Kullen. Getting a big heavy box through the door and down the aisle isn’t a simple task either.
Total cost: If not a member, about $107 (including $50 to join, $25 application fee and about $32 for a three-hour trip in a truck); With membership: About $32 for three hours in a truck. Rates start at $8 an hour but vary depending on type of car.
This one breaks down to whether you already have a Zip Car membership, or can at least con the card out of one of your friends with one. The plus sides here are that you can drive your own car on your own schedule, don’t have to pay for gas, and you can get a variety of sizes of vehicle from sedan to truck. Plus, Zip Car has cars in several locations around Brooklyn ready for pick up and even a few cars stationed at Ikea to use while there. Plus, if your trip is taking longer than you thought, there’s an iPhone app that lets you easily add more time on to your reservation.
Downside: The application fee is a bit steep, so if this is the only use you’ll have for a Zip Car, you should look elsewhere.
And then, you have your basic public transit:
Total cost: $4.50 roundtrip subway fare
The subway will take you as close as the 4th Ave./9th Street station on the F, D, M or R trains and there you can get on the free shuttle. Or take the 2, 3, 4, 5, M or R to Borough Hall and take the shuttle.
Downside: Unless you’ve got an army of at least four schleppers to help you lug the 228-pounds of Swedish ingenuity, or some sort of monstrous MegaUltraHyper Granny Cart with which to carry it, this option doesn’t do much for you. Plus, you ever try getting on the train with a bike? Try a hulking mass of furniture. Not recommended.