Can We Expect Target to Further Appropriate LES Culture with its Essex Crossing Opening?

Posted on: July 23rd, 2018 at 5:02 am by

Photo: EV Grieve

Target opened its small format Alphabet City store Saturday afternoon with a gaudy, insensitive display of consumerist authentrification. The new location at Extell’s luxury compound on 14th Street received vinyl skin to mimic the tenement feel it destroyed, red newspaper boxes that evoked the old Village Voice ones, fake fire hydrants, cookie-cutter “art,” and worst of all, an appropriation of CBGB that probably has Hilly rolling six feet under (“TRGT”).

Jeremiah at Vanishing New York said it best by calling the marketing stunt a “Potemkin Village from Hell” that was a “deplorable commodification of local neighborhood culture.”

And now, the next neighborhood with the bullseye on its proverbial back is the Lower East Side. The forthcoming store at 400 Grand Street is slated to open on the second floor August 19. So, the logical next question is – can we expect the same (or similar) targeted cultural appropriation from this store opening at Essex Crossing? Will Target roll out red-branded pushcarts to evoke the area’s peddler past, perchance? Channel Sonny Rollins? Or maybe bring down the same fire hydrants and faux storefront clairvoyants for a reprisal?

It’s not such a stretch. After all, the fifteen-story residential building in which it resides – built on Site 5 – employed the same tactics by calling itself The Rollins. Named for Jazz master Sonny Rollins who lived in one of the tenements destroyed by this very project.

The development boasts 211 rental units (half affordable), a potential school facility, and public park on the Broome Street perimeter. Leasing for the apartments went live back in March and is pretty much unaffordable, despite the net-effective free month of rent – studios start at $2,945 per month; one-bedrooms at $3,855 per month; two-bedrooms at $5,400 per month; and three-bedrooms at $7,295 per month. The affordable stock starts at a bottom-dollar $519 per month.

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