At the ribbon-cutting for the new Century 21 store on 66th Street and Broadway yesterday, politicians announced that a new era of shopping has begun on the Upper West Side. The mayor even called the neighborhood “a shopper’s paradise.”

To which we say: Really?

Not many Upper West Siders I’ve talked to are ecstatic about the new store, although there’s certainly quite a bit of buzz. It’s very nice to have something in that space, because the corner where it sits is kind of the southern gateway to the neighborhood. And there are lots of nice designer clothes. People smarter than me can tell you about all of the discounted stuff from Marc Jacobs, Manolo Blahnik and Diana van Furstenberg you can buy there.

But folks definitely miss the Barnes & Noble that sat there. And Upper West Siders are already cringing a little about the Century 21: one told DNAinfo’s Leslia Albrecht that it’s “schlocky and awful.” Another said “[Barnes & Noble] was very high-class, and it’s being replaced by something so inelegant.” I checked the store out last week, and was pretty impressed by the men’s section, including the brand-name shirts at discount prices. But the whole fluorescent lights and silver walls decor was a little off-putting.

Or as our columnist Harriet Flehinger recently wrote:

The question of the day… you like Century 21 (opportunity to buy more clothes at cheaper prices) or not  (out-of-town bargain hunting tour buses interrupting the cultural oasis of Lincoln Center)? This writer clearly comes down NOT in favor, having always thought of the Lincoln Center area as a gentle haven for culture, arts, books, music, etc.  I value the fact that there is still a store in this area that specializes in woodwind instruments. I wish there were more stores like that.

You will not find woodwind instruments at the new Century 21, but below are a few pictures of items you can find:

NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 4 comments | permalink
    1. Helene says:

      Big let down……no linen dept, toy dept, housewares dept, luggage dept or make-up. Just means This store is fine if you are a junior or teeny person……I’m not. Their children’s department is very small and missing most sizes unless you’re under 4.

    2. sophiamom says:

      I went there opening day, and personally I thought it was awful. I was hoping that having C21 on UWS would mean I wouldn’t have to go downtown. But the C21 UWS selection is abysmal. There is no thought given to the neighborhood demographics. Childrens dept was abysmal, no makeup, luggage or bedding, and for women, no brands that actually sell in this neighborhood – missing bohemian (Odd Molly, etc), small bags by LeSportSac, etc. It was confusing to find anything because the signs usually did not correspond with the merchandise on the same rack. When I asked for specific brands, one staff person snapped at me and said “you know, this is a much smaller store, we can’t carry everything” with WAY too much attitude. Um, all the more reason to THINK about your merchandise mix. Their only concession to the hood was a small athletic wear corner. And of course I wanted to go up the escalator to get a coffee at the cafe, before I reminded my brain that B&N isn’t there.

    3. alicia says:

      the most horrible thing i seen since alexander dept store in the 80s. no linen dept i will not shop there

    4. Dan says:

      21 belongs in Brooklyn or way downtown. This neighborhood doesn’t need this.