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.

Recent Stories

Hinds Talk the ‘Prettiest Curse’ and Love for NYC [Interview]

Spanish indie rock outfit Hinds drops their much anticipated third album today, The Prettiest Curse. Prior to the pandemic, I chatted with lead singer and guitarist Carlotta Cosails. An unabashed fan, my goal was to avoid becoming awkward fangirl, Mel, from Flight of the Conchords. A nearly impossible feat, as Hinds’ first two albums, Leave […]

The Reason You Don’t See Trash Cans on the Lower East Side

You may have noticed the lack of trash cans on street corners around the Lower East Side this week. Vanished seemingly overnight. As a precaution this week, the city quietly removed receptacles from neighborhoods overwhelmingly hit by unrest and looting following the killing of George Floyd. It’s estimated that roughly 2,000 were temporarily towed citywide, […]

Pink Protest Signage Screams Poor Taste at the Museum of Ice Cream

When New York City begins its reopening on Monday, SoHo will be boarded up as if for a hurricane, and the streets emptier than when the COVID-19 shutdown began. Signage of the luxury retailers has also been erased by the appearance of bare plywood, Black Lives Matter graffiti, or both. But the Museum of Ice […]

A Scene, Unseen: LES Music Venues, Musicians Stay Visible Despite Closures

By the time this article is published, 11 weeks of self-isolation will have passed. It’s been 11 weeks since many of us have gone to work, since grocery stores have felt safe, and since handshakes have felt friendly. And those are only the most banal, everyday changes. When it comes to the moments we share […]

Lower East Side Businesses Boarded up their Storefronts Amidst Citywide Looting

When the pandemic hit, it was mainly the luxury stores in SoHo that began boarding up the windows for fear of looting. It’s now a reality in the atmosphere following the controversial death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in Minneapolis police custody. For days, looters took to the streets, oftentimes piggybacking off […]