Comeback kid Century 21 is sign of the times, Mayor de Blasio says

Shoppers leave the Century 21 department store in New York on March 1, 2002. (REUTERS/Chip East CME)

Mayor Bill de Blasio excitedly confirmed the return of the major department store Century 21 on Wednesday, Feb. 24, during his morning press briefing.

“Century 21 is making a New York City comeback,” said de Blasio.

Century 21, a family-owned business, was founded in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn back in 1961 by natives Sonny and Al Gindi. Under the Gindis and now their sons, Raymond, Isaac, I.G, and Eddie Gindi, it grew to 13 locations across the United States with its headquarters in Manhattan before the COVID-19 crisis forced the chain to close its doors in September 2020.

The department store, like Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, and Lord & Taylor, once they initially closed because of the lockdown in mid-March, couldn’t sustain. The company dove headfirst into bankruptcy, reported Business of Business. It planned on liquidating its 11 stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida after they had reportedly fought tooth and nail for COVID-19 insurance payouts. 

It was supposed to be gone for good, and everyone from bargain shoppers to the Mayor lamented losing the city’s signature outlet store. 

“New York City is coming back and New York City is coming back strong, no question about it,” said de Blasio. “Some New York institutions and icons are special to us, and one of them is the legendary department store Century 21. They bore the brunt of this pandemic like so many other retail stores, and we mourned when we heard they wouldn’t be around.”

President of Century 21 Stores Marc Benitez was also present to confirm the rumors for the past few days that the department store would be returning.

“Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting them knows what they stand for, and that’s value,” said Benitez. “The outpouring of love and support from our beloved consumers has been nothing short of overwhelming. Those consumers traveled from the East Side, the West Side, across the Hudson, really across the world.”

Benitez promised the store will reach new milestones for customers, but couldn’t speak further on details about the reopenings.

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