Target have apologised for a tribute they carried out to CBGB, the New York rock club which played host to many seminal bands during its history.
Last Saturday (July 21), Target opened a new store in NYC’s East Village with a facade that was similar in style to that of CBGB’s famous exterior.
Instead of “CBGB”, the store used “TRGT” and “BANDS” in bold lettering on a temporary facade similar to the CBGB’s original, together with a display with referenced the nightclub and included TRGT branded foam hands, t-shirts and posters.
The display quickly prompted a backlash. The New York Times posted interviews with musicians who reacted negatively to the tribute including Chris Stamey and Willie Nile, both of whom performed at the club before its closure in 2006.
Stamey, who played CBGB’s around 25 times both with his band, The dB’s, and as a sidekick to Alex Chilton and Richard Lloyd, was unimpressed with the tribute.
“I think it’s a pity that a teenager sees the Target store and thinks it’s all a cartoon,” he said of the store front.
Speaking about the legendary venue, Stamey said “it had the stink of the real,” adding that “everybody was trying to find something new at that time. Nobody is trying to find something new at Target.”
Nile – a regular performer at the club in 70’s and 80’s – said he “mourn[s] the loss of character and style” in the East Village, referring to the areas gentrification. He also described the tribute as “a drag.”
#Target recently opened a new location in #NYC's East Village last week, and somebody thought it’d be cool to use a faux #CBGB's to make the new #store's
facade look like it would’ve in the late-1970s. It’s not cool. #notcool #70s #Manhattan https://t.co/o3CuV16E1f
— Eclectic City (@EclecticCity) July 27, 2018
I can’t think of anything less CBGB’s than Target. https://t.co/SsyO53GQAT
— CheekyMaru ???✨ (@AJDMaru) July 21, 2018
There’s a faux CBGB’s at the new Target on 14th and Ave A ? pic.twitter.com/F8szd44j4G
— Lesley Higgins (@Morningline1) July 21, 2018
12 years later and wound is still fresh. Don’t do this. Companies like Target are exactly the reason CBGB’s was forced out of their space. https://t.co/MTG7ygGa3S
— Creighton (@sensiblemadman) July 23, 2018
View this post on Instagram
THIS #davidstarkdesign team for the win this morning at a CBGB's inspired throwback — part of the perfect, #Target East Village "block," created to celebrate the opening of their new store on 14th Street between Avenues A and B. We are ALWAYS honored to be part of the @Target team! A special call out to our "battle of the bands" winners: @allisansalazar @dartwodeetwo @lrusso92 @sarahrylei @msusiem and Lesley (who's not on instagram!). You guys rock. Literally. . . #davidstark #event #events #eventdesign #eventdesigner #eventplanner #eventplanning #design #decor #transformation #eventprofs #eventprof
On social, media, many reacted with anger, pointing out that it was the commercialisation of the area that forced CBGB to close originally when the owners of the building refused to renew CBGB’s lease.
Jeremiah Moss, the author of Vanishing New York – a book about the city’s gentrification – described it as “the most deplorable commodification of local neighbourhood culture I’ve ever witnessed” in a blog post.
Responding to the backlash, Target issued an apology. They said: “We often host a on-day celebration that shows the neighbourhood how excited we are to be part of their community.”
“We sincerely apologise if some event goers felt it was not the best way to capture the spirit of the neighbourhood.”
“We always appreciate guest feedback and will take it into consideration as we plan for future opening events.”