By the time the first customers entered at about 11:30, a line had formed around the entire building. “I’ve been waiting for this day to come, because I’m a Century shopper, and I’ve been a Century shopper for many years,” said Gina Strachan, 83, from Brooklyn. (Ms. Strachan, like other longtime customers, referred to the store using a shortened version of its name.)
The first floor, which offers fragrances, sunglasses, bags and other accessories, filled up quickly. Many shoppers gravitated toward the center of the floor, where sales associates armed with keys stood by locked display cases full of Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent and Gucci purses.
By 12:30, lines at the registers had grown longer, and the escalators were crowded. Early arrivals were already on their way out, and some, including Jamz Putra, were empty-handed. Mr. Putra, 27, from Manhattan, had come in search of Balenciaga and Vetements items, with hopes of reselling them for a profit. “I missed this place,” Mr. Putra said, adding that even though he hadn’t found anything that he could resell, he planned to return.