Century 21 reopens with four smaller floors

ICYMI, Century 21 reopened Tuesday, after covid closures led to bankruptcy and led to the Gindi family managing to buy the intellectual property and then led to this: a smaller and what I would call thinner version of its former self at the same location across from the World Trade Center.

The store is operating on four floors, basement to three, and on a smaller foot print since the western section facing the Oculus is no longer part of the space (the elevators are now approximately where that old entrance was.) As before, accessories, fragrance and beauty are on 1, but that’s where the similarities end. The lower level is kids and luggage; women’s is on 2 and men’s is on 3.

Home goods are not part of the equation, though I overheard an employee telling a distraught customer that they may bring it back in about 90 days. (All the staff was really helpful and nice, BTW.) The lines were about 15 people deep yesterday, but there’s a new addition: self checkout at the south entrance. And one thing I never knew before: there’s tailoring for men, and soon, women. Jack Dowly has been running the tailoring operation since 2015, though during the closure he found other work at Hugo Boss and Burberry’s in NJ.

I am not a Century devotee the way so many folks are, so I asked my neighbor, a Tribeca native and a fashion designer for movies and TV shows, for her Day One review. She waited online with the hoards on Tuesday.

“It’s not as good as it used to be, sadly,” she said. “There’s only one floor of women’s and the designer section does not have the level of European brands that they used to carry. So many racks of Moschino and Monse, which are both pretty cheap, quality-wise. They used to have Celine and really really luxe stuff.”

“The shoe selection was fun/interesting and better than the clothing,” she added.

I’ll tell you one thing that hasn’t changed: the crackly speakers playing muzak. Nothing says Department Store more than that!

22 Cortlandt at Trinity
Monday – Friday: 10a to 7p
Saturday: 10a to 8p
Sunday: 11a to 6p



  1. I went to the Grand reopening of C21 store and this is my report.
    If you, like me, a big fan of the store, you’re in for a disappointment. It’s not the store I remember. First of all, it’s half the size and only 4 floors. I must admit that it looks very modern, bright and clean. Almost all staff is young people. Everybody was very friendly and helpful. Obviously, I headed to the 3rd floor to the men’s department. I was so excited and was looking forward to find treasures among the racks. I kept looking for well known international brands, especially Italian, that I always found here. But there we’re almost none. I saw a few racks of tacky Versace and overpriced Dior t shirts with loud logos, some strange looking sweatshirts by Celine at insane prices, but that was it! Most of the merchandise was some obscure random designers I never heard of, basically street style casual clothes that I wouldn’t touch. I was really shocked. As it turns out, they decided to target “younger “ consumer with upcoming designers and “fast fashion “, whatever that means. What a letdown!
    I, somehow, ended up with 3 items and not because I “had to have them”, but I felt I didn’t want to leave empty handed after standing in line for hours.
    In the men’s shoe department there were some good brands, such as Tods, Santoni, Balmain. But the prices were steep. And not every size. I ended up with a pair of Balmain sneakers ( originally $650, C21 price $350). The shoe department was a zoo. But many salespeople were ready to assist.
    The checkout was a nightmare: I guess because it was the first day and the new personnel was still trying to figure out what is what. The place was packed. My overall impression: it’s not the C21 we all loved, it a totally different experience and the merchandise is very disappointing. I doubt I will be a regular customer the way I used to be if things remain the same. I hope you get a better experience.

    • I was so happy to hear that C21 was back, finally. I went yesterday and was immediately disappointed as I entered the store and veered over to the handbags. Prices were crazy high, quality clearly lacking. Even the designer bags were disappointing. The women’s clothing floor was non-existent. I felt like I was in J.C Penny. The shoe collection was even more of the same. Poor quality, high prices and a very limited choices. I used to get so excited to shop in C21 for hours, just in the shoe dept., but yesterday, I was in and out in an hour, empty handed. Come on guys, you know what you have to do…

      • That’s exactly my point! They completely changed the store’s concept! All luxury designers are gone, the only things with brand names you see ( at least in men’s department) are tacky overpriced t-shirts with loud logos and ridiculous price tags! No Armani, no Prada, no Brunello Cucinelli, it’s a joke. I don’t know who their targeted customers are, but majority of New Yorkers won’t be buying some random cheap stuff that have on their racks. The company says they want to get more feedback from customers to see what people want to buy. Well, I hope people speak up and tell them “ If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”.
        Bottom line: it’s a very poor imitation of the former C21 store….

  2. I want to century 21 yesterday also was very disappointed this was my favorite store went at least once a week . The women clothes was so tight on that one floor which you could barely tell the designers from the regular brands the bags were nothing to write home about and the shoes space was so small . I really miss the housewares department that was on the lower level . hopefully they will expand and take over more levels

  3. If true, this new re-branding is truly unfortunate. The world does not need more fast fashion ending up in landfill. I had hope to find a source for affordable, elegant, classic, long-lasting clothing. Seems like I will have to keep searching elsewhere.

  4. I actually thought it was great — a smaller footprint made it much more navigable, and I think you just overlooked the brands. There were tons of high end European designers scattered about, as well lots of trendy, smaller brands.

    Honestly, a lot better than Nordstrom.

    Very happy to have this back in the neighborhood

    • Today I decided to give C21 a second chance and went there with my sister. We both left empty handed and angry. The awful merchandise was still there, no new arrivals. I did look around men’s department and found barely few European brands that were from several seasons ago and only 1 piece of each, either XXS or XXL. Same ugly Dior sweatshirts with tacky logo for around $400, same with D&G and Valentino.So, I didn’t find “tons” of high end items at all, unless you want to be a billboard.
      In men’s shoe department I felt like I was at Foot Locker- nothing but athletic shoes! A few random pairs of Italian dress shoes, but at high prices.
      My sister had similar experience in woman’s departments. She felt she was at Marshall’s. Whatever happened to all great leather bags and wallets? Where are the beautiful silk scarves? When she went to the ladies room, there was no toilet paper nor hand soap. A brand new store?
      The final insult was near the exit by checkout counters: $20 dog collars! The place truly has gone to the dogs!! Seriously! This was my last visit to C21. I don’t see why they would reopen the store that doesn’t resemble it’s former self. I have a feeling that loyal customers will see that and be totally turned off. And it’s a shame.

  5. I visited the store before the grand opening and had a comfortable chance to look around. I was not tempted to purchase anything. I’ve been a Century 21 customer since the Eighties. I am happy to continually wear the beautiful clothes that I purchased over the years. I used to get so excited about shopping there on my lunch hour and after work. I knew there’d be items I would be compelled to buy, because if you didn’t get it then, it would be gone when you returned. C-21 was my favorite store of all time. I spent thousands of dollars there over the years. I will now continue to save money as I have while they were closed. Some things will never be the same.

    • I agree with Anita: things will never be the same as far as C21 goes. I used to shop there almost exclusively for years, most of my wardrobe is from Century. The best designers, amazing clothes at bargain prices. But now it’s a totally different store that doesn’t even resemble C21. It’s a sad, sad situation.

  6. Having read the reviews of other Tribeca Citizen readers, I braced myself disappointment. The reincarnation of C21 truly could be mistaken for Marshall’s except really sparse merchandise. (Marshall’s is stocked with all manner of beauty products, some weird, some great, at terrific discounts. Nothing like that at the C21 reboot. A few makeup items at not particularly impressive prices.) Not much on offer and the prices are nothing special. The ultimate indignity for this once brilliant store were the small bottles of water with the Century 21 label on offer for $1.99. Why? Why would anyone in search of bargains buy a warm bottle of water for $1.99?
    I’m hoping that they will start getting some more merchandise, and that some off the overpriced merchandise goes on sale. But really — no queus at the cashiers. Nobody was buying.

    • Sounds like C21 has lost its way. We should be aiming for more environmentally sound products and practices: clothing that is well-made, long-lasting, and relatively timeless, so one needs less of them, and to replace them less often. Fast fashion and plastic water bottles represent the exact opposite.

  7. My wife had the same initial reaction as everyone above.

    I was talking to someone who works there and he told me that it should be considered a work in progress. The store was picked clean during the opening week. That plus there are still some supply chain issues. This is especially true on some of their more niche designers.

    Ties and dress shirts should be in by the fall, men’s suits will be restocked, etc. Expect a more robust selection closer to what we had become used to by Spring 2024. They were under tremendous pressure to reopen, so they are doing the best with what’s available.

    It’s the same at Norstrom Rack which pre-pandemic had a fantastic selection of higher end items, but went downhill. They are still pushing slim cut suits and those high-water pseudo capri pants for guys which are out. But they are slowly improving.


  8. Alas, it seems inevitable that this would be C21.v2’s fate. The world of high-end fashion commerce is dramatically different than it was in their heyday, and it’s obvious that the relationships the store’s buyers had cultivated before e-commerce sites like those associated with the Yoox group came on the seen, were able to sustain, to some extent, C21’s original vision up until the store’s pandemic-driven (or greedy-insurance company greed-drive) closure. Unfortunately, it seems that the buyers no longer have the same clout as they had before before with luxury clothing suppliers, and the vision has changed. To be honest that isn’t surprising. While in the late 1990s, early 2000s, there were great finds to have at, say their Bay Ridge store (though overall, rarely as good as the WTC location), but as the company expanded, merchandise in other stores seemed much more conventional – maybe a bit better than Marshall’s, but not remarkably so. The Lincoln Center location, for instance, seemed tailored, so to speak, for conventional Upper West Side tastes, rather than pushing any sartorial envelope. That made sense from a conservative business point of view, but it wasn’t the thing that inspired so many of us to shop at C21 to begin with. Too bad.