In 1996, Breaking Ground acquired the then-dilapidated Prince George Hotel on 28th Street between Madison and 5th Avenues. The once-grand hotel had suffered from decades of neglect, and had a long history as welfare hotel, at one point cramming more than 1,600 people into just 400 rooms.
All of that was about to change, as Breaking Ground spent three years lovingly converting the building into our second-largest supportive residence. The Prince George opened in 1999, providing 415 studio apartments for formerly homeless and low-income individuals. Now, the Prince George is undergoing a second round of major renovations – replacing elevators and upgrading building systems – to ensure that it forever remains a home to some of New York’s most vulnerable residents.
And last week, the Prince George received a special visitor.
Back in town to see relatives, Stephanie, one of the Prince George’s very first tenants upon its reopening in 1999, stopped by to reflect on how “this place really changed my life, and I’m so thankful it’s still here.”
When she was first starting out, Stephanie was doing pretty well. “In my twenties, I moved to San Francisco, and I lived there for about seven years. I had a well-paying job. The company I worked for offered me a position in New York, so that’s how I came here.”
But, she says, “I wasn’t really together, I had some addiction problems.” And that led to losing her job, and then a life on the streets.