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Be afraid, maybe even very afraid of the retail tenants you choose to mess with if public image is a concern. That's the one lesson condo and co-op boards should probably learn from the landmark Pythian's current quagmire (described in yesterday's NY Times). The condo board's first salvo against Upper Breast Side, a one-stop-shop and resource center for breast-feeding mothers, was a $250 fine for leaving its door improperly ajar. Upper Breast fired back with a discrimination complaint to the state, saying the door is too unwieldy for its stroller-pushing customers.
The legal battle--centering around whether the business is more shop than consultancy--is escalating, but not as fast as female outrage toward the Pythian board. Online responses to the Times story number more than 200 comments and counting. A few argue Upper Breast Side is exactly like a wine store or craft shop, which hold classes and sell products. But overwhelming support is going to what women are insisting is more emotional support and family friend than retail source, bejewelled nursing bras and all.
"I think that this is one of those situations that only those who have experienced this time of life can really appreciate," says one. "How many of the people in this 'all-male, exclusive lodge' can say that they have pushed a baby the size of a watermelon through a hole in their body the size of a lemon and then tried to latch it onto their nipple? Any consulting at all that is done for new mothers greatly outweighs the consumer aspect of this store, in my opinion."
We don't know many wine stores, craft shops or even dentist's offices that would get this type of turnout.