6/20/12

"It's the Hookers, the Drugs, the Dealing"

The Brooklyn Daily confirmed today that I'm not the only local resident who believes that the Prince Hotel, at 315 93rd Street in Bay Ridge, is a crime den.

How does a place so brazen, so lit-up, so wide-open -- like it has its own time zone -- survive in a neighborhood that can barely tolerate a Halal food cart?

It's like the set of a Martin Scorcese movie.

No surprise to me that the neighbors report seeing young women going in and out at all hours, needles and crack pipes on the sidewalk, and cop cars and ambulances parked outside on a regular basis.  

Once a "respectable" boarding house known as The Spotford, the Prince was bought by 83-year-old Moses Fried, the proprietor of The Prince Hotel Group, which also owns the Princess on Schermerhorn Street between Hoyt and Bond streets in Downtown, the Prince Lefferts on the corner of Lefferts Place and Classon Avenue in Clinton Hill, and the Little Princess on 12th Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues in Park Slope.

The city has closed both the Princess and the Prince Lefferts due to Building Code violations and prostitution. Responding to complaints from the neighbors, the NYPD conducted an undercover operation at the Prince Lefferts that resulted in the hotel being closed down in 2006, after cops saw women being paid for sex there. The Prince Hotel has been cited by the city Department of Buildings for violating fire safety standards and work without a permit.

The "inexpensive comfort and quality" the Prince advertises on its website, including jacuzzis and room service, starkly contrasts with city records listing the building as a single-room occupancy -- an SRO -- supposedly providing long-term residential housing for low-income tenants.

Fried admits, in so many words, that the Prince is an illegal SRO conversion (as the other properties in the "Prince Hotel Group" may well be.)

For what good it does, Subchapter 5, Article 9 of the city's Housing Maintenance Code proscribes illegal SRO conversions. And the city's Rent Guidelines Board and the Housing Preservation and Development Code Enforcement Division, with two borough offices in Brooklyn, both seem to have some code enforcement role. Problem is, there doesn't seem to be any interface between code enforcement and the public.

The article from the Brooklyn Paper.

Long-term tenants at the Prince and the proprietor of the bottle club next door happy-talked Brooklyn Daily reporter Will Bredderman.

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