Longtime residents of a Bay Ridge hotel and boarding house — some of who have lived in the building for more than three decades — are striking back against accusations that the Prince Hotel is a rent-by-the-hour shag pad that lures hookers and drug dealers to 93rd Street.
Susan Marchitella, who’s rented a room at the Prince Hotel by the month for the past four years, said building owner Moses Fried runs a clean establishment — not the hotbed of crime enraged neighbors claim.
“There’s no drug problem in here, no more than in any other apartment building,” Marchitella said, adding that she’s personally witnessed the building’s front desk staff turn away people who were either under the influence or trying to rent a room by the hour.
Another resident who’s lived in the Prince Hotel for more than 30 years, but insisted on not being named, said she’s seen nothing out of the ordinary at the hotel she calls home.
“There’s couples going in and out, young ladies going in and out, young men going in and out. But I don’t know if it’s prostitution or not because I don’t know anything about it,” the resident said.
Marchitella said that the crackpipes and hypodermic needles residents say they routinely find in front of the building come from the 93 Lounge, a bar that rents a storefront space inside the Prince Hotel that police have labeled a “problem location.”
She also praised Fried as a landlord, claiming that he’s continually fixing the building.
The Prince Hotel has a handful of monthly tenants, but Marchitella says that doesn’t make the building a single-room-occupancy dwelling where low-income tenants rent rooms and share a toilet — despite reams of city paperwork stating otherwise. Each room has its own bathroom, Marchitella claimed.
City rules forbid hotels from moonlighting as single-room-occupancy dwellings.
The hallways to the Prince Hotel were being cleaned when we visited the hotel last week, but Marchitella would not allow us to check out her room.
Ted Moustakas, a longtime Prince Hotel critic who owns a house on the block, agreed that 93 Lounge might be the real source of the drug paraphernalia found on the pavement, but stood by his claims that the hotel is used for prostitution.
“I see the same cars pull up in front every week and guys go in with girls,” Moustakas said.
Attempts to reach 93 Lounge owner Ronald Coury was unsuccessful by our online deadline, but in a previous interview Coury said his lounge caters to an upscale crowd that doesn’t misbehave. The sins neighbors claim his customers have committed occurred under the bar’s previous owner, he said.
“They were complaining about me before I even purchased the place,” he said.
The city’s Department of Buildings has summonsed the Prince Hotel for fire safety violations and for working on the building without a permit. Hearings on the violations are scheduled to be held this week.
The city has already shut down two of Fried’s other buildings. The Princess Hotel on Schermerhorn Street between Hoyt and Bond streets in Downtown and the Prince Lefferts Hotel on the corner of Lefferts Place and Classon Avenue in Clinton Hill were both closed after the city learned that the buildings weren’t up to code and prostitutes frequented both spots.