Mon-Fri, 10am-8:30pm; Sat, 9:30am-7pm; Sun, 10am-6pm
D, M, N, R at 36th St.
It's tempting to dismiss Costco as a suburban encroachment on New York City's unassailable urban virtues. But, really, what could be more Gotham-esque than a gargantuan place where virtually every material and gustatory need can be filled in a fast-paced, no-nonsense setting that's only icky if you look too hard? Besides, the company treats its employees decently, so it's not like you're contributing to Wal-Mart's dubious coffers. Once inside, it's clear why this membership chain bills itself as a warehouse: The vast structure, with bare rafters and concrete floors, crams in everything from home electronics and kids' clothes to a tire store (a dead giveaway that the those without cars are ill-served here) as well as a deli and regulation food court. The mammoth grocery section, however, is the real draw, in large part because everything from Lucky Charms to Boca Burgers is sold in bulk. Meats, fish, and poultry are irrefutably fresh, and ready-made platters of crudités, wraps, and cut fruit simplify home entertaining. Where else within city limits can you buy a 64-pack of disposable razors, a wide-screen TV, a slice of pizza, and a new set of rims under the same roof?Extra
You have to be a store member to shop at Costco, with annual membership fees from $50 to $100. Apply in any of the stores, or save time and sign up online.