STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
Sounds like the mayor of New York is in an Empire State of one mind with Jay-Z and Beyoncé, who are experiencing a different sort of birthing pains.
The superstars have been faced with mounting criticism by new parents and pundits alike after taking over an entire security-saturated wing at the city's Lenox Hill Hospital to welcome daughter Blue Ivy Carter into the world over the weekend. But now they found something of an unlikely defender.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
While holding a press conference Tuesday (which, thankfully, was not to discuss Beyoncé's baby), Bloomberg was asked about the star treatment the duo received—by several accounts, to the detriment of their fellow new parents at the hospital.
"Let's step back a little bit here," Bloomberg told reporters, cautioning people against criticizing the private facility for renting out floors or wings, while admitting that a city-run hospital would never allow the practice to occur.
"If [the hospital] got paid a lot of money and it let them provide services to other people who don't have insurance or can't afford it, I'm not so sure it's a bad thing," he said. "Full-paying patients are very valuable to hospitals in this day and age."
Lenox Hill did get paid a lot of money, although the exact amount is not known. Though the rumored price tag for the Carter family's stay is $1.3 million, the hospital has denied that figure and said the couple paid the standard rate—without clarifying what that rate was.
The mayor then went on to say that the special suite afforded to the music superstars no doubt allowed the hospital to subsidize the care of other patients and will likely serve as "an enormous revenue source" in this budget-tightening time.
And what about the reports that Beyoncé and Jay's strong-armed security team kept other overjoyed new parents from seeing their newborns by blocking off the entrance to the neonatal unit for several hours?
Well, even the mayor's magnanimity only goes so far.
Though he made clear that he wasn't clear on the specifics of the duo's stay, saying, "it's been an awful long time since I've been in a maternity ward," and "I don't think I'm the person that can tell you what goes on in this day and age," he did condemn the notion of closing off maternity wards—if that's indeed what happened.
"I don't think you should keep people from seeing their babies, or whatever, but have different services for people are full-paying patients. It's easy to go and criticize, but somebody's got to pay."
Lenox Hill Hospital's executive director Frank Danza also spoke out yesterday, in addition to denying the seven-figure price tag on their stay, clarified the rumors surrounding their security measures.
"No security plan that we or the Carters' security team put in place would have prevented or delayed families from gaining access" to their children, he said, adding that despite the media chatter, the hospital had not received any complaints from their patients that day.
Meanwhile, critics may be pleased to know that not every celebrity who checks into Lenox Hill gets the star treatment.
"My celebrity treatment at Lenox Hill involved taking a group breastfeeding class in a closet," Tina Fey, who became a mom for the second time over the summer, joked on the Today show this morning.
"The nurses at Lenox Hill are fantastic. They are the best. It's a New York City hospital room! There's like an ATM machine in the corner. It's not fancy."