Three months, two deaths, one hotel — and everyone is talking.
Bay Ridge is practically buzzing over the two bizarre deaths at the Best Western Hotel Gregory this winter — the first, back in December, when a 20-year-old woman allegedly fatally stabbed a man in what she said was self-defense, and the second coming last week, when a 52-year-old man committed suicide in a bathroom at the Fourth Avenue hotel.
One resident saw the deaths as a possible bellwether for the neighborhood.
“Things change, but not always for the best,” said Blanche, an elderly resident of nearby 82nd Street who didn’t want to share her last name.
The location of the two grisly acts was almost as unbelievable as the crimes themselves
“We’re shocked, because it’s a very nice place,” Blanche added.
It was not easy for others to pass the crime scene-cum-lodge.
“It was a little nerve-wracking for my family to see the cop cars again,” said Paul Guyette.
Even the boys in blue were surprised to be investigating another death at the neighborhood’s most respectable hotel. The 61-year-old Gregory Hotel is where many people’s relatives stay when visiting their grandkids, and where baseball teams sometimes stay when they’re playing the Cyclones.
There is another hotel nearby, at 93rd Street, but it has a reputation as a “hot sheets” joint, given its hourly rates. That’s what made the dual crimes at the Gregory so surprising, cops said.
“Everyone remembered the stabbing and then, the suicide,” said Sgt. John Strype, a community affairs officer with the 68th Precinct. “Everyone was talking about it.”
What they were talking about is this: Cops say that on Dec. 2, Pamela Hanson, 20, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, fatally knifed David Diaz, a janitor at the Goldfingers strip club in Queens, where Hanson was a dancer. The two had checked into the hotel together, near Diaz’s home, but only Hanson walked out the next day. She claims she killed Diaz to protect herself when he got rough in bed, but she also admits to having hid the weapon under a pillow before they became intimate.
Now, she’s facing second-degree murder charges.
Then, on Feb. 18, a cleaning woman discovered Ridge resident Paul Mento’s body on the bathroom floor. Duct tape covered his mouth, but police determined that it was a suicide. Mento, an accountant, was a widower with two grown children, and possibly a gambling problem to boot, Newsday reported.
Recent guests were unaware that they had checked into the Do Drop Dead Inn.
“You’d never know it from the look of the hotel,” said George Brown, who was in Brooklyn on business. “The fact that two things happened in such a short time is never comfortable news. But life goes on.”
Hotel employees would not comment for the story, following company policy.
©2008 Community News Group
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