B’Stoner: Bossert For Sale

Brownstoner reports today that the Watchtower Tract and Bible Society has put the Bossert Hotel on the block.  The hotel has been called  the "Waldorf Astoria" of Brooklyn. The landmark building once housed many of the Brooklyn Dodgers and its roof deck was a celebrity destination in the 1920s.  It's hard to put a price on such a storied property and the Watchtower has opted not to set one — they've put out a "Request for Best Offer" to potential buyers. The hotel currently has 224 apartments.  

How much do you think it'll go for? Think it will become condos? Co-ops? Or will a new group join the neighborhood?

The Brooklyn Eagle has a great article on the hotel and its history. 

Flickr photo by vidiot

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  • ABC

    The Bossert is owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, not the Scientologists.

    Hotel would be great, condos fine, NYU dorn a drag.

  • Jonas Von Groucheau

    ABC wrote: >>>The Bossert is owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, not the Scientologists.

  • T.K. Small

    Before the Jehovah witnesses took it over, the building/hotel had become quite rundown and seedy. Mostly it was occupied by poor elderly, and a number of alcoholics. The lobby had an old-fashioned Chinese restaurant with large leather booths. The interior of the restaurant seemed very dark and probably dirty. For some reason the only thing that I can remember eating there were the fried noodles. Although the Witnesses are not the type of group that I would ever consider joining, I give them credit for their restoration of the building. Before they took it over it was on the verge of becoming a welfare hotel.

  • Andrew

    A luxury hotel with a rooftop restuarant/terrace and a bar on the ground floor would be a nice addition to the neighborhood.

    I would be very surprised if this became a hotel. I’m not really sure that Montague St. could support a hotel. Even if this goes to apartments or co-ops, any use that doesn’t have a bar/restaurant is going to be sub-optimal…

  • nabeguy

    Reading Andrew’s comment about a hotel not being sustainable in the Heights makes me wonder how the nabe was able to support not only the Bossert but the St George, the Hotel Margaret, and the Standish Arms Hotel way back when. Times have certainly changed.

  • anon

    A hotel use would be tricky. Parking is harder to come by in the heights than in midtown manhattan. Hotels need either parking or a steady stream of cabs outside. Subways alone won’t cut it.
    A dormitory wouldbe a sad fate for the old dowager but that would probably be the best fit.
    Before the Jehovah’s the place was a fleabag, like the old St George. Brooklyn Heights was a white ghetto. No one talks about that. But there was a large concentration of destitute white folks in the Heights, many of them elderly. many of them off their rockers. All white though, it was definitely a white township.

  • Andrew Porter

    There are two reasons why Brooklyn Heights supported so many hotels once upon a time. The first is that this place was a separate city, and this area was the center of it. More recently, until the Depression, people would come to the Heights because it was cooler and nicer than the crowded streets of Manhattan. It is still noticeably cooler than Manhattan. People would come to this area to spend their vacations here, if they couldn’t afford the New Jersey Shore or other seaside attractions on Long Island, etc.

  • http://BrooklynHeightsBlog Karl

    Does anyone know the 6 rent stabilized tenants of the Bossert? These people will have lucked out if Bossert becomes luxury condo complex like the Plaza.

  • anon

    I also think the rents were very very low here.
    It was attractive to artists and deadbeats.
    “february house” gives a good description of the
    types of dumps one could rent for a song in the 40’s and 50’s.

  • L

    I’m going to miss that place. I had the privilege to stay there when I went to visit my friends. My brothers and sisters (fellow Witnesses) renovated and restored that building to something so beautiful. Welp, they have to do what they have to do. I hope the next tenants or owners will appreciate the hard work that was put in to maintaining the beauty of that hotel.

    P.S. A cult doesn’t consist of almost 7,000,000 people worldwide.

  • Bert Rolo

    — P.S. A cult doesn’t consist of almost 7,000,000 people worldwide.

    Please allow me to ask how you handle those who have left the flock.

  • T.K. Small

    Another important reason for the relatively high number of hotels in this area is the proximity to the docks and warehouses along the waterfront. Merchants would arrive in the area shortly before a shipment would be loaded/unloaded from the boats. In addition to these fancier hotels there were a number of less expensive accommodations that would meet the needs of the sailors and dock hands. Most of these were probably rented by the hour.

  • epc

    Also, much of what is now Cadman Plaza up to Borough hall was commercial buildings. There used to be a lot more “there” to Brooklyn Heights than there is today.

  • anonymous

    If they put in a garage, the units will sell like hotcakes.

  • Andrew Porter

    EPC is correct. An incredible 80+ square blocks of buildings were torn down, including several major hotels, starting in the late 1930s in various improvement plans by the NYC government. What used to be here is very well documented in the Digital Library at the New York Public Library website. Indeed, Washington Street (now Cadman Plaza East south of the BQE) was a major thoroughfare with double trolley tracks (Montague also had double tracks) leading up to the intersection of Johnson Street, where the Brooklyn Eagle Building stood opposite the Old Post Office. Robert Moses and others have much to answer for…

  • BklynJace

    Cult or not, the Witnesses did wonderful things for the Bossert specifically and the Heights in general.

    It would be great to have the Bossert be a hotel again, with some nightlife. I’ve always been jealous reading about it as the Dodgers’ hangout and a swinging spot….

  • nabeguy
  • GHB

    Love that 2nd pic. So much nicer before they put up those horrendous concrete apartment buildings between Henry and Cadman Plaza.

  • http://adsformyself.blogspot.com Tim N.

    Walt Whitman’s original print shop was also lost in the gutting, I believe.

    If you have the reprinted WPA Guide to NYC there is a cool map of the area before the re-do, it’ll help make sense of where everything was.

  • Bart


    Thanks for the pics; they’re excellent. Do my eyes decieve me or is that a church on the corner of Monroe place and Clark Street? What a terrible loss. Only to be replaced with that horrible poured concrete structure from the 60’s.


  • Bart

    Here are some pictures of the Church that used to stand at the corner of Clark and Monroe place. As beautiful as Brooklyn Heights is, many beautiful buildings were lost


  • bornhere

    The church was absolutely beautiful, and I recall the tiny gift shop, with its entrance on Clark Street. Sadly, the building was destroyed by a fire. Equally interesting was the sort of off-limits-to-a-kid diner/greasy spoon, with its entrance on Clark and what was Fulton Street. I remember thinking how it was probably for the exclusive enjoyment of longshoreman and other exotics I’d never get to know. Fulton Street was a treasure trove of breathtaking antique stores, a pet shop, a tiny jewelry shop, and the best fish store in the world (run by Dolly and her husband). And then the big buildings appeared.

  • nabeguy

    Tim N. you’re correct. His print shop was on Cranberry Street between Henry and Fulton. Hence the Whitman Townhouses, which is the only nod the developers made to history.

  • Mary Teresa

    Cults are usually clandescent societies in which the public doesn’t have access.

    I believe you can go into their churches any time and their services are open to the public.

    Just my two cents worth.

    Also, I’ve seen the building. It is stunningly beautiful. It’s like going back in time when artistry and guilded paneling was a sign of luxury and prominence.

  • Interesting

    According to the New York Times:

    “Richard Devine, the building manager for the society, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that the old hotel was “in very poor condition when we bought it.” The society then began an extensive renovation of the 14-story building.

    Mr. Devine declined to estimate the cost of the renovation of the Italian Renaissance Revival-style building, with its white pillars and crystal chandeliers, but said it was “in the millions.”

    It must be worth a lot now, with 200,000 square feet of space.

  • Sparkles

    Why is there a Tom Cruise video here? I thought he was a Scientologist?

  • Jingles

    Sparkles, did you forget to wear your helmet again?

  • Construction on Henry Street?

    I noticed interior renovations on Henry Street this week — next to Heights Nails. Does anyone know what is planned for this space?