Welcome to Harlem, Target!

All week, Manhattan has been abuzz with the news: we’re getting a Target. I’ve never been ashamed to say that I love Target (or Targé, as my mom pronounces it when she’s trying to make it sound more upscale). There are so many great finds, from clothing to decorating, that when I learned I was invited to a preview of the new store, I had no problem venturing over to East Harlem for the event. (Sidenote: yes, I said venturing…I’ll admit, I’ve become quite spoiled by my 2-stop commute to work everyday, so anything involving switching trains or a long ride feels like a trek to me!)

When I was invited, I had no idea what to expect. So when I walked in for the preview and was greeted with free-flowing wine, performances by the likes of Yerba Buena and Doug E. Fresh, and soul food and Puerto Rican cuisine (and yes, I do notice the irony in the fact that I am half black and half Puerto Rican), I was in awe. Add rubbing elbows with celebs like Russell Simmons & Rev Run, Jerry Seinfeld, Angie Martinez and Tyson Beckford, and you can imagine I was in New-York-event-heaven.

So, the store. It’s located in the new East River Plaza, alongside the Cotsco and Best Buy that recently made their debuts in East Harlem as well. Last night I learned that many feel the addition of this Target is taking away from the neighborhood’s organic, authentic feel, but after talking to community leaders and taking part in the celebration, I honestly feel it’s going to do great things for this area. The store is creating jobs for East Harlemites, has a supermarket with fresh produce in an area that doesn’t have many supermarket options, and is providing an outlet for designers to design exclusive collections that reflect East Harlem’s vibrant Latino and African-American culture.

My review: Designer Stephen Burrows debuted a funky, bright and color blocked collection of casual wear that would be great for a day at the beach or a low-key summer night:

Latino husband-and-wife duo Isabel and Ruben Toledo both designed beach wear for the store. Below, see the beach towel (the design on this towel was one of my favorites of the night) designed by Ruben, and a one strap one-piece designed by Isabel that I didn’t love for myself, but could be cute for someone with a slim build.

photos courtesy of Nylon Magazine

The best part of all? Target is donating 5% of proceeds of the sales from their collaborations with the designers to local charities.

What are your thoughts on the collection, and of megastores making their way into classic community and culturally oriented neighborhoods?

p.s. If you want to be super jealous about an amazing NYC loft, check out this piece Harper’s Bazaar did on Isabel and Ruben Toledo’s apartment…incredible!

p.p.s. A huge thank you to Love Brown Sugar for the hookup to this event!

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