Weekend of Cheryl part 3: Cheryl Shops Century 21 in Brooklyn
Ever since 1999, which was my first summer in NYC, I have loved Century 21. I've scored amazing deals on Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, Helmut Lang, and Olivier Theyskens; after September 11th, my first trip to Ground Zero occurred when Century 21 re-opened after months of cleaning and restoration. Century 21 and I go way back. In recent years, however, I've started to get annoyed by 1) the crowds and 2) the prices, which don't seem to be as great as they used to be; lately, more often than not, I've left empty-handed. But the Manhattan store, while it's probably the most famous, is not the only Century 21. I had always heard that the other locations--there are two stores in Jersey, one in Long Island, and one in Brooklyn--weren't quite as good as the flagship in terms of merchandise, but were much more spread out and far less crowded. So I dragged MW out to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to test that theory.

After a slight detour through Sunset Park (note to subway riders: if you take the N train, don't forget to transfer to the R train at 59th Street in Brooklyn!), we found the Brooklyn Century 21 smack in the middle of a busy shopping area on 86th Street in Bay Ridge. Men's clothing, cosmetics, and women's accessories are on the first floor; women's and kids clothes are on the second floor. The store is cleaner, more well-lighted, and, yes, far less crowded than its Manhattan counterpart. I left MW in the men's section and headed up to the 2nd floor. The contemporary women's section definitely can hold its own with Manhattan; I spotted a good selection of Juicy, C&C California, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and DVF, as well as a whole rack of KA7 at very good prices (silk tunics for $49, merino wool sweaters for a ridiculous $35). The European Designer section had more merchandise than I was expecting, but definitely didn't compare to the Manhattan store; I tried on some ill-fitting Martin Margiela pieces, and there was quite a bit of Helmut Lang, D&G, Antik Batik, and a few other Euro labels that I haven't heard of but that looked well made nonetheless. What the department lacked in selection, they made up for in well-organized, well-spaced racks. It should also be noted that the fitting rooms have private, curtained-off stalls, instead of the one-room free-for-all at Cortlandt Street. Thus, the only person who saw me look like a shapeless blob in Martin Margiela was me.

The lingerie section is not quite as fleshed-out (pun intended) as the Manhattan store, but there was a healthy selection of Cosabella thongs, Simone Perele lingerie, and even Wolford stockings. Back on the first floor, I spotted a shelf of Missoni wavy-stripe scarves for $70, which seemed like quite a good deal to me. The shoe section had a respectable amount of last year's Chloe and Marc Jacobs shoes; prices were not totally outrageous. The handbag section was a bit disappointing, except for a selection of bags from L'Autre Chose, whom I didn't even know made handbags. They were $199 each, but the leather was incredibly soft and buttery. I ended up not buying anything (the story of my weekend, basically), but MW stocked up on underwear, socks, and faux-vintage T-shirts.

The Century 21 in Bay Ridge is definitely a bit of a hike, even for a Brooklynite like myself. Nor is the selection as great as that of the Manhattan location. But, it's cleaner, brighter, more spacious, far less crowded, and, overall, a very pleasant experience. Prices are still kind of hit-or-miss; instead of battling the crowds at the Manhattan location, I'm definitely going to head to the Brooklyn location the next time there's a big clearance sale.

1 comment

Anonymous said...

I like this branch a lot more, except you're right about the selection. But it's so nice to be able to go shopping without bumping into someone else everywhere you turn!