East Harlem Costco Open; 2,000 Get Free Memberships


Image via East Harlem NYC. At East River Plaza, just off the FDR Drive at East 116th Street, Manhattan’s first Costco opened today. The famous high-volume low-prices price-club chain already had stores in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island; Manhattan’s zoning and community boards have traditionally made it a slightly tougher nut to crack, but the island’s got a Kmart and about a thousand Rite Aids, and may (God help us) get a Wal-Mart, so why not a Costco? And it’s not like East River Plaza ain’t exactly the Champs Elysees.

But despite winning the right to locate in East Harlem, Costco had some struggles, too:

They were forced by public and government pressure to accept food stamps, and are still the target of anti-gentrification grumbles, which we’re sure management finds hurtful. To smooth their way, Costco agreed to give hiring preference to locals, and did a flyer campaign through which 2,000 lucky Harlemites who qualify for food stamps got their $50 2-year Costco membership fee waived.