July 26, 2018 | by James Greene, Jr.
"We sincerely apologize if some eventgoers [sic] felt it was not the best way to capture the spirit of the neighborhood." So goes the damage control from big box monolith Target, who enraged New Yorkers last weekend when the grand opening of their East Village store was decorated with a street façade emulating cultural touchstones mega-corps like themselves have been pushing out of Manhattan for decades. Target raised a backdrop painting of tenement buildings in front of phony street performers, phony newspaper kiosks, and a phony juice bar.
"They are the dead risen from the grave," Vanishing New York author Jeremiah Moss commented, "zombies enlisted to work for the corporation."
The "crown jewel" of this tone-deaf marketing ploy was TRGT, a parody of iconic Bowery bar CBGB, which thrived as the city's underground rock music hub in the '70s and '80s. Skyrocketing rent forced CBGB to close in 2006; the space is now a John Varvatos store. The TRGT featured two windows chock full of t-shirts, records, and foam rubber hands, none of which were for sale. Instead, Target handed out "bands" — hair bands, Band-Aids, and exercise resistance bands.
Chris Stamey of the dBs told the New York Times that CBGB had "the stink of the real... everybody was trying to find something new at that time. Nobody is trying to find something new at Target."
In their apology, Target noted that they were simply trying to show "the neighborhood how excited we are to be a part of their community" and concluded by saying the TRGT backlash will be taken "into consideration as we plan for future opening events."
Meanwhile, no amount of protest seems to be enough to shut down the CBGB tribute restaurant currently operating out of Newark Airport's Terminal C. That's not even in New York, you ghouls!