The Upper Breast Side (135 W. 70th, between Broadway & Columbus) has to win the award for most ridiculous yet most clever store name of all time. Motto: “You bring your breasts, we’ve got the rest!”
If you’re not familiar with this Upper West Side institution, it’s because you don’t have breasts. Or kids. Or both. It provides all manner of goods, services, and support groups for Upper West Side mothers who are nursing babies.
Today the NY Times reported that the UBS is embroiled in a legal battle with the Pythian, the condo building in which the store is housed. Wait, is it actually a store? That’s the question that’s at the heart of the battle.
The building has previously fined owner Felina Rakowski-Gallagher for leaving the front door open. She filed a countersuit with the building stating that it was discrimination because the pregnant women and those with strollers struggle to open the door. A hearing is pending.
The condo board of the building is now claiming that the UBS is more retail than “consultancy” and that it violates zoning rules for the space. So the UBS’s very existence is in question.
I nursed both of my children, but I’m not here to take sides on the breastfeeding battle. Read the great article Jezebel posted today to get a taste of these issues.
I had a very hard time nursing my first son. I was in tears everyday. He had colic. He wouldn’t latch. I was devastated because I wanted him to nurse and I was adamantly opposed to formula at the time. After using the services of a lactation consultant, I found the Upper Breast Side.
Here’s the thing: Felina is very rough around the edges and completely militant about her beliefs. I didn’t particularly care for her personally. But her business helped me immensely. I went a few times a week to weigh my son. She helped me with tricks for pumping. And yes, I bought a lot of things from her that I probably didn’t need.
If the Pythian succeeds in getting the Upper Breast Side out of its current space, I hope Felina can keep the business afloat. I really believe it provides a necessary service, if for no other reason than for a new mom to have a place to run into other sleep-deprived new moms with flabby bellies who are completely clueless about the little aliens they’re now supposed to care for.
That being said, here’s something I don’t think is necessary (Felina as quoted in the NYT article):
“Are you going to nurse in something that looks like a stretched-out athletic sock, or do you want to wear a completely blinged-out HOTmilk or Marlies Dekkers nursing bra that looks just like what Lady Gaga wears?” Ms. Rakowski-Gallagher said. “Nursing is normal. And normal means that you can be really gorgeous.”
I’m sorry. Blinged-out nursing wear? Gaga and breastfeeding in the same sentence? Can you even imagine? The stretched out athletic sock worked for me. Between leakage and baby barf, I destroyed a lot of crappy t-shirts.
Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this all resolves.