Discrimination complaints against buildings are all the rage these days. First it's The Dakota, then the Upper East Side's Trafalgar House, and now the Times completes the trifecta with a look at the troubles at the landmark Pythian condo building/Egyptian temple at 135 West 70th Street. (Apparently such bad behavior is an above-59th-street type of thing.) This time the dispute is not a racial; the occupant is playing the chromosome card! The board is battling with Upper Breast Side, a store that specializes in breastfeeding tools for new mommies and resides in the Pythian's retail space. A member of the condo's board fined the store $250 for leaving its door improperly ajar, and the owner responded by filing a discrimination complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights because the door is too heavy for pregnant women and stroller-pushing mothers to open safely.
The state found sufficient evidence to support the complaint, and a hearing is scheduled for March 23. But now the board is alleging that Upper Breast Side violates local zoning, which permits medical facilities and the like but not commercial use. They say the owner described the venture as a "consultancy or resource center" when she bought the space five years ago, not as a retail store. Upper Breast Side does host weekly clinics and provides other services, and the owner says the board has been picking on her over other matters, like the placement of a plant outside the store. Yep, it's official: Only the Upper West Side could turn a story about breasts into something as boring as a fight over a plant.
· Breast-Feeding Boutique in Feud With Condo Board [NYT]