What a Bargain!

A crowd formed outside Century 21 Department Store at 22 Cortlandt Street well before its 11 AM opening on Sunday. And as shoppers—many visiting from abroad—rushed into the popular destination, they were in for a better bargain than they could have expected.

New York State stopped collecting sales tax on clothing and footwear under $110 as an increased sales tax exemption took effect on Sunday.

The state had begun to phase out the four percent sales tax on April 1, 2011, and over the last year, it didn’t collect sales tax on items under $55.

“The sales tax exemption is good for families. It’s good for business. It’s good for New York,” New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said at a news conference amid the hustle and bustle inside Century 21.

He was joined by Century 21 owner Ed Gindi, other business leaders, and Elizabeth H. Berger, President of the Downtown Alliance.

“Thank you to Speaker Silver and his colleagues for their dedication to restoring this important tax exemption,” said Berger, wearing an outfit purchased completely at Century 21. “Last year, nearly 10 million tourists flocked to Lower Manhattan—to experience our rich history, to eat at our amazing restaurants, and to shop at our renowned retail destinations like Century 21.”

She pointed out that the annual spending power of these visitors, along with 310,000 workers, and 57,000 residents in the Lower Manhattan market, stands at $4.7 billion.