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Forget that lame ass Target holiday boat and Mizrahi Rockefeller Center thing. Everyone knows stand-alone Targets rule, and Manhattan is just plain missing out. My first NYC box store experience was monumental, and it certainly wouldn't be my last. That's why I was so excited about the Starrett City Greatlands that opened a year or so ago in Brooklyn. But to be honest, it was more of haul than I'd anticipated, even by car. (My last foray into those oddball streets like New Lots Ave. was when I fell asleep/passed out on the L train [no, I didn't live in Williamsburg] and ended up in the Canarsie subway yards at 5am.) Starrett City is always an adventure, but not one I've repeated since.

The round, double-decker Target in Elmhurst has proven to be more my speed. And they've even managed to keep the shopping cart escalator from falling into disrepair (I was convinced the mechanical novelty would be perpetually broken). This location is more subway and pedestrian friendly than Starret City, despite its placement on the "boulevard of death," Queens Blvd. The center is enhanced by the presence of Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Daffy's, DSW and assorted other mall stalwarts. But I think Queens still freaks a lot of people out, it's doubtful they get many Manhattan trekkers.

That's why I'm so curious to see what will happen with the Atlantic Terminal mall. Sitting atop a major subway hub, a mere express stop from Manhattan, it could be a hit. Part of me fears The City-dwellers will overrun the place like some undiscovered gem they've carelessly claimed as their own find. The other half wonders if it'll suck as hard as the bastard stepchild of a "mall" across the street. I've never encountered a shopping hub so ghetto un-fabulous as the Atlantic Center. The saddest Old Navy, Marshall's and Macy's ever, woefully reside in the concrete eyesore. I've heard that it was designed to discourage loitering, and believe me it does. But we're in a new millenium, and a new rapidly gentrifying downtown Brooklyn. There are going to be two Starbucks in the Atlantic Terminal mall, for Frappuccino-ing out loud (though let's not forget the middlebrow Chuck E. Cheese's that will also be present). Who knows what riches the Atlantic Terminal mall will bring to the borough?

Target * Various locations, NYC

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