An Iggy Pop-Up

Target opens in the East Village with polarizing faux-urbanism

Development East News Urbanism
Storefront of
Storefront of "TRGT" being installed. (Courtesy EV Grieve)

The East Village outpost of Target opened in lower Manhattan this weekend and kicked off the festivities by draping a vinyl facade of long-gone East Village institutions down a stretch of the street. The installation concocted Target-ized versions of long-gone cultural institutions, including riffs on CBGB, the Village Voice, a local laundromat, and more, drawing the ire of preservationists.

The 27,000-square-foot Target is a smaller, “urban” offshoot at the base of the Beyer Blinder Belle-designed luxury EVGB (“East Village’s Greatest Building”) tower at the intersection of 14th Street and Avenue A. The kiosks around EVGB’s base were all throwbacks to the neighborhood’s punk 1970s past and included a wrapping reminiscent of the tenement buildings that existed before Extell developed EVGB.

The online responses were, predictably, divided. Preservationists viewed the stunt akin to a facadectomy and accused Target of appropriating the area’s past to promote a gentrifying store. On the other side, most of the visitors this weekend seemed happy to snag free swag the “TRGT”, fake pizza places, and “palm readers”.

Jeremiah Moss of Vanishing New York was particularly scathing in his assessment, calling it a “Potemkin Village from Hell” and decrying the commodification of his formative experiences. Still, this kind of thing happens regularly, as facades and nods to an area’s past are frequently appropriated in the marketing for whatever comes next, whether it be an addition or wholesale replacement.

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