Local panel doubles down on commitment to clean up Prince Hotel

With the opening of a universal pre-k on the same block as an alleged hotbed of sex, drugs and violence fast approaching, Community Board 10 is doubling down on its commitment to clean up the infamous Prince Hotel.

Chair Doris Cruz announced at the board’s January 30 general meeting that the neighborhood’s newly formed Prince Hotel Task Force – made up of members of the board, representatives of local electeds, and various other city officials – met for the first time on Friday, January 27, in hopes of bettering both the notorious establishment, and the block on which it is located.

The nearby pre-school – a three-story structure that will house eight classrooms and serve close to 150 students at 369 93rd Street – is still under construction at the old site of Hamilton Medical Associates, with plans to open come September.

“We as a board made a commitment to clean up that block in order to have a pre-school there,” said Cruz, stressing that the task force agreed upon taking a three-pronged approach to cleaning up the Prince which includes increased police patrol, better coordination with involved agencies and open communication with residents of the block.

“The 68th Precinct will assign an officer there when it has the manpower,” she said of the first prong, “and [they] will continue that, and [they] will increase that.”

From there, she said, the precinct – as well as the task force – will work hand in hand with officers from the NYPD’s special narcotics division on some of the drug problems at the Prince pertaining to perps with prior convictions and long-term histories. The group will also work with the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement to secure a meeting with the owner of the Prince so that he may better understand the community’s concerns.

“They said that it would be helpful if the owners of the building knew the community’s position,” said Cruz, “that will we not put up with this; that we will have a decent establishment on that block and, if they want to continue to run it, they will have to run it in a decent manner.”

Finally, the task force plans to meet with local residents sometime next month, in hopes of inspiring the neighbors to keep fighting.

“[A lot of these residents] have been fighting against the Prince Hotel for years, and they’re tired,” said Cruz. “They’re saying things like, ‘I’ve been calling for 10 years and nothing’s changed. I’m not calling anymore.’ We want to encourage them to keep calling.”

The Sheriff’s Office first descended upon the hotel in February of last year – less than 24 hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio promised “aggressive enforcement” against the hostelry at a Bay Ridge town hall meeting. From there, the site was poised to be sold at auction, until its owner – Moses Fried – filed suit against the mayor’s office, putting the Prince in a legal limbo that is still pending.

“That legal action is still proceeding,” said Cruz. “We’re hoping that the judge will make a decision sometime in February, though that is not guaranteed.”

According to Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, as of February last year, Fried had accumulated a whopping $400,000 in fines for violations on his property – located at 315 93rd Street – dating back as far as 1995.

Specific violations include several missing Certificates of Occupancy; Work without Permits while installing fire alarms, gas lines and plumbing; failure to maintain building codes for electrical lines and sprinklers; and illegal use as a transient hotel in a residential district.

“We are very dedicated to continuing the efforts to clean up that block,” concluded Cruz, “because it needs to be done and because we made a commitment to see to it.”


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