Costco's new Harlem store tests New Yorkers' cramped apartments
New Yorkers enjoy the discounts on products at Cosco, but do they have the space to store them? (Photo: Tiffany L. Clark)
New Yorkers have an appetite for bulk discount shopping, even if they have to turn their tiny apartments into surplus storage units.
Costco’s first Manhattan store opened last week, challenging residents’ already cramped living spaces, and begging the question: Where are we going to put this 36 pack of paper towels, six pack of oversized dish soap, and can upon can of tuna?
Karen Fausch and Mary Ann Terillo came to Costco together on Thursday to stock up on bulk items, a shopping strategy that helps them split the cost and the merchandise.
Fausch, 53, of Manhattan, is lucky. She has a spare bathroom that can double as a storage locker.
"I don't need the extra shower — only in New York, right?" Fausch, 53, of Manhattan said.
Since Manhattan’s Costco opened Nov. 12, more than 3,000 new members have joined through the Harlem store, said Andrew Pashmick, the assistant general manager. Membership costs $50 a year.
Manhattan’s tight quarters meant the store even had to squeeze in. At 105,000 square feet, it’s smaller than the Costco in Long Island City by about 30,000 square feet.“Such a large footprint is not feasible to acquire here," Pashmick said.
To help New Yorkers carry purchases home, the store recommends Discovery Taxi, which costs about $20 to get from Harlem to the East Village. There’s also parking available, but that costs $4 for two hours. The fee perturbed some club members used to free parking at other Costcos, but the mall’s developer imposed the fee. Target, Best Buy and Marshalls stores are also coming to the site.
"I would rather use my gas for the drive to Yonkers than have to pay the $4 for only two hours,” said Laurie Flynn, 65, of Harlem.
Brenda Devine, 48, of Manhattan, came to shop — to heck with where she’ll put it all.
"I usually get creative with the space: under my bed, on top of shelves. You walk in here not knowing if you need something or not, but you get this impulse to just buy everything since it's so much for so little."