I remember the first time I ever went to Target.
No, that’s a lie. I have vague memories of possibly visiting a Target while on a trip Minnesota, before it was a fixture in every major suburb I’ve ever spent time in, and I know there was a time before the Target in my hometown sprung up about a twenty minute walk from our house. But I don’t really remember the Time Before Target, so I don’t remember my first time in a store.
But I do remember the first time I ever set foot in the Target at Atlantic Terminal Mall.
It was late August, and I was moving to Brooklyn. My parents still had a minivan and had driven me here with it packed full of all the things I couldn’t do without. We’d carried them up the stairs to my first (terrible) apartment, and now we were in Target to pick up the other things I needed. I’m sure food, and paper towels, and other cleaning supplies were all on the list, but mainly I remember buying my table, which is now my kitchen table, and a folding chair, which I left at an old apartment two years ago. I love that table, even though it’s now a little worse for wear, because it’s a lovely dark brown wood square table that you would never suspect is a folding table. I’ve mainly only folded it for moves, but I love that I could store it under my bed if I ever wanted to!
That Target trip had a bad ending when, after lugging the table and the other items around the corner to where we’d parked the car (Target’s carts are magnetized so you can’t take them outside the store), we found out we’d been away just a little too long. Brooklyn welcomed us with a parking ticket.
I’ve been back to that Target a fair number of times in my years in New York, and its strangeness never totally goes away. Like many retail spaces in NYC (but unlike most suburban Targets), Brooklyn’s Target is built up. Our Target in my childhood neighborhood sprawls – if you’re separated from the person you’re with, you could walk the large rectangle of the store and miss them completely if you didn’t look carefully enough. That’s probably true in the Brooklyn Target, too, only with the aided obstacle that the store is two floors. An escalator takes you (and your cart on its own moving walkway) from one to the other.
It’s easy to get lost in this Target – for a while I’d forget, from one visit to the next, where exactly certain sections were. I’ve gotten them nailed down on my mental map, now, more or less. It’s a busy store, not surprising as it sits on top of the hub that is Atlantic-Barclays. I try not to go too often, both because it’s overwhelming and because when I do I tend to remember my suburban roots and buy more than I need, and certainly more than I can comfortably carry on the subway. Luckily, there’s an (overpriced) car service line right outside the store. If you’re nice to the guy minding the door that leads outside from the elevator, he’ll even unlock your cart long enough to lead you out to the cars. It’s how I traveled when I spent way too much money one day last fall because I had a gift card.
If you have time to spend, and money to burn, and lots of things on your list, a trip to the Brooklyn Target can be rewarding, as my apartment stands to show. And when you go to check out? Walk further in to the checkout area – the lines get a lot shorter if you do! But if you’re tired, and broke, skip it – otherwise you’ll end up spending more than you need to.
Have you spent time in a NYC Target? How does it stack up to your suburban visits? Or do you avoid Target altogether?