Target, the sterile department store you trudge to when you finally decide that you need a laundry basket rather than just a pile of clothes in the corner, opened up a new location in Manhattan's East Village, right on the corner of 14th Street and Avenue A, over the weekend. This is dispiriting in itself, if not exactly surprising. Astor Place is already a drugstore mecca, anonymous glass-fronted apartment blocks dominate where art used to thrive, and the only bars worth visiting anymore are down towards Avenue C. But people need laundry baskets, and late capitalism provides.
Instead of simply sliding into the neighborhood quietly, however, Target decided that it would announce itself by cosplaying as CBGB, one of New York's greatest and most storied institutions. It was a terrible, just God-awful idea:
After TRGT opened, anyone who remembered anything about pre-$3000-a-month Manhattan expressed their dismay. In fact, there didn't seem to be one positive response to a department store putting a "BANDS" display up that actually just included Band-Aids and headbands. "Jane Jacobs is rolling in her grave today," Jeremiah Moss, author of Vanishing New York, wrote in one of the more succinct eviscerations. "Target has opened on Ave A, and for their grand celebration they have committed what might be the most deplorable commodification of local neighborhood culture I’ve ever witnessed."
Target apologized for the debacle yesterday, offering up some vague platitudes about the "sprit of the neighborhood" and "guest feedback" and "consideration" or something. (You can read the whole statement over in Andrew R. Chow's write-up at the New York Times.) Now that this is all over, maybe consider just throwing your dirty clothes in one corner. You can always hide them under your bed if you have guests.
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