It was a mayoral mea culpa.
Mayor DeBlasio apologized to Bay Ridge for failing to crack down on chronic illegal activity at 93rd street’s notorious Prince Hotel — which is just feet from a pre-K center his administration is proposing — during a town hall meeting at Fort Hamilton High School on Feb. 16. DeBlasio called the situation at the flophouse “absolutely unacceptable” and promised his administration would finally take action.
“I have to take responsibility for that and apologize to you and the community,” he said. “I guarantee you now — and I’m making a very personal guarantee and all those cameras are running — that there will be enforcement and action on the Prince Hotel.”
The Mayor’s office assembled a task force to investigate alleged drug use and prostitution at the hotel a year ago after local leaders panned the city’s effort to build a three-story pre-kindergarten facility down the block from the establishment, but the task force has yet to take significant action there, locals said.
The property owner has racked up 152 open buildings department violations and owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties as a result, city records show.
A Community Board 10 member who asked about the mayor’s plan for the hotel at the town hall said she was happy to hear the Hizzoner’s promise, but said his words must be followed by action.
“I’m satisfied with his answer and we will follow and we will see what happens — he’ll hear from us and the press will hear from us if he doesn’t [act on the promise],” Doris Cruz said. “The community board made a commitment to pre-K students that there will not be a Prince Hotel problem when that school opens.”
The School Construction Authority purchased the property for the proposed pre-K in October for $3 million, according to the real estate news outlet New York Yimby.
The councilman who moderated Tuesday’s town hall was optimistic about the mayor’s promise to move on the Prince Hotel and extolled how open-style meetings shoot pressing community concerns up the ladder.
“That is one of the best advantages of having a night like this, because issues like that can get directly to him,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge).