Hotel Bossert: The Opulent Destination Hotel of Brooklyn Heights

Photo by Susan De Vries

Editor’s Note: A version of this post was originally published on October 20, 2010. You can view the original post here.

The Hotel Bossert at 98 Montague Street is a survivor from Brooklyn Heights’ grand old days as a busy hotel destination spot and social hub. Although not as large and all-encompassing as the Hotel St. George, the Bossert was certainly the most opulent of Brooklyn’s grand apartment hotels.

bossert hotel brooklyn postcards

Vintage postcard via Andrew Porter

It was built by millionaire Louis Bossert, a Bushwick lumber and millwork magnate. He enlisted the firm of Helmle & Huberty, perhaps because they had recently designed another opulent Bushwick masterpiece, St. Barbara’s Catholic Church.

The original 1909 hotel was enlarged in 1912, and a ballroom was added to its luxurious amenities, which included 375 rooms accessed by a magnificently ornate lobby, as well as a Palm Room dining area.

brooklyn architecture bossert hotel 98 montague street brooklyn heights

This is a beautiful building, highlighted by the pale, diamond patterned brick (which Helmle used often), balconies, a magnificent cornice, and a series of arched window bays with lion’s head keystones.

brooklyn architecture 98 montague street hotel bossert

The Hotel Bossert’s rooftop restaurant. Vintage postcard via Andrew Porter

The most famous space in the hotel, called the “Waldorf-Astoria of Brooklyn,” was the Marine Roof, a two-story restaurant and club with an amazing view of Manhattan. It opened in 1916, and was often patronized by Jimmy Walker and Al Smith. The Marine Roof closed in 1949, although it tried to reopen again, unsuccessfully, in the 1960s.

During the 1950s, the hotel was the unofficial home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, as several players lived there, and in 1955, a huge celebration took place in the lobby when the Dodgers won the World’s Series against the Yankees.

brooklyn architecture hotel bossert 98 montague street

Things went downhill from there, however, and the building was allowed to deteriorate to the point where the Marine Roof collapsed. In 1988, the Jehovah’s Witnesses bought the Bossert and began a meticulous restoration of the building, including the ornate lobby.

The religious organization sold the hotel to David Bistricer of Clipper Equity and the Chetrit Group in 2012. The boutique hotel planned for the building has yet to open.

brooklyn architecture bossert hotel 98 montague street brooklyn heights

[Photos by Susan De Vries unless noted otherwise]

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