A couple of Septembers ago, Century 21 unveiled a new, Upper West Side branch store that allayed community fears that the retailer was going to drop a jumbled discount store on the neighborhood. The sleek, well ordered concept bore little resemblance to the popular but always crowded and often dingy downtown flagship, but today, the expanding chain unveiled an expanded flagship with new features and a dramatic redesign that brings the store to a full seven floors including an expanded children's department and even a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf tucked away on the third floor.
There are people who love off-price shopping and people who hate it. You can count The Shophound in the former category. Even in its previous, messier incarnation, we were always happy to look for the needle in the giant haystack that was Century 21, and, more often than not, we found it. The new, cleaned up version just gives everyone more room to shop, and makes the bargains much easier to find. Almost every department has been refreshed, expanded and relocated. One high profile addition is a spacious new MAC cosmetics counter in the store's impressive cosmetics department (pictured at left) —the only category in the store that does not offer discounted merchandise, and also one of the few stores south of Canal Street with a full cosmetics department.
There are still a few areas due for renovation, but the bulk of the expansion is finished. Some things never change, however. The store is still a major destination for tourists, and even with the extra floors, it's still pretty crowded. There will inevitably be someone in your way at any given moment. There are also still the same great off-price designer finds. We saw a sizable selection of Lanvin (at right) at the front of the women's designer area, and other racks full of Jil Sander, Martin Margiela (below), Giorgio Armani and tons of other European luxury designers. Century 21 may still not be for everyone. Finding those great buys still take time and energy that lots of people don't care to invest, but now there is a brighter, cleaner better lit and better ordered environment for everyone who loves going out of their way for a little bargain hunting.
Century 21 Flagship 22 Cortlandt Street between Broadway & Church Streets, Financial District
Now Open: Century 21's Upper West Side Store Is A NEW Century 21