Colourful handbags, leather goods, Siena, Tuscany, Italy, Europe
Egon Bömsch/age fotostock
Located in Lower Manhattan, across from the World Trade Center site, the Century 21 flagship store is a must-shop for bargain hunters. (There are also locations in downtown Brooklyn and on the Upper West Side, at Broadway and 66th Street.) Spanning seven floors, with a total of 220,000 square feet of retail space, the flagship is filled with everything from true designer items—often dramatically discounted from the original price—to bargain packages of underwear and socks. It is by its nature hit-or-miss. The store sells the previous year’s fashions, surplus and irregular items, and designs that simply didn’t move. One day you may come across an overlooked gem; on another visit you’ll find only things that are simply a little too out there, explaining how they ended up at Century 21. The experience can be overwhelming, and many serious shoppers have different and often contradictory strategies—from visiting only twice a year to checking out the merchandise there at least three times a week. Perhaps the best approach is to go in with an attitude that even if you don’t find any hidden treasures, you can at least enjoy a true New York moment of bumping elbows in the search for a bargain.