- Nuthouse Hardware
202 E. 29th St., nr. Third Ave.; 212-545-1447
You need two principal things in a hardware store. The first is comprehensive selection, and Nuthouse certainly has that. It sprawls over three floors plus the basement of a sizable four-story building, and stocks not only the usual bolts and springs and electrical cable but also hard-to-find plumbing valves and specialized tools and such. The cheerful if occasionally eccentric staff will cut lumber to size; they’ll mix paint colors to order. The housewares section noses into upscale-department-store territory, with cheery polka-dotted kitchen accessories and Le Creuset enameled cookware. Yes, you can get a lot of that stuff elsewhere—which brings us to the second thing you need in a hardware store: access to their stuff at any hour. Nuthouse Hardware is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, which means that when the aforementioned hard-to-find plumbing valve breaks in the middle of the night, this place is the only game in town.