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A 'serene' shopping experience at Century 21

The sales floor at Century 21 in Westbury.

The sales floor at Century 21 in Westbury. A new Century 21 will be moving into a space near Lincoln Center after signing a 20-year lease for the four-story, 60,000-square-foot building.(Feb. 22, 1999) Credit: Newsday / Julia Gaines

If any of you have made the shopping pilgrimage to Century 21 in lower-Manhattan, you probably walked out with some great loot ... but also a serious headache, backache, case of claustrophobia and, well, you get the idea. In my almost seven years of living in New York, this has been my only experience with the designer discount department store. Until yesterday.

On my way home from work, I took a detour at the Westbury location (there are six total), where things were decidedly more calm and civilized and, gasp!, even serene.

First off, there was parking right out front.

Inside, the clothes were neatly hung on the correct racks. Most seemed to be sorted by both color and size. Nothing was thrown on the floor, no one was eyeing my every move, ready to grab that Marc Jacobs top or Michael Kors bag right out of my hand. Even the slogan, "Fashion Worth Fighting For!" sums up the store's usual combat zonelike atmosphere.

This isn't to knock the Manhattan location. There's a reason people from all over the world go there. In a way, it's fun. But, leaving yesterday with full bags and hundreds of dollars of savings while maintaining my sanity was fun, too.

If you're in the market for new shoes, jeans, home goods or anything a department store sells, my recommendation is to head on over.

Century 21 is at 1085 Old Country Rd., Westbury, 516-333-5200.

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