Brooklyn Heights

The Hotel Bossert is aiming for an October reopening

June 3, 2016 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In honor of the Bossert's anticipated October reopening, we offer this Oct. 4, 1955 photo of Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Johnny Podres (second from right) dancing in a conga line at the Brooklyn Heights hotel during a party celebrating the team's World Series victory. AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler

It’s party time — almost — at the Bossert.

The iconic Brooklyn Heights hotel is aiming for an October reopening — just in time for World Series celebrations. If only the Dodgers were still here in Brooklyn.

The Montague Street landmark where the Dodgers celebrated their 1955 World Series victory over the New York Yankees has been closed and under renovation for a looong time.

To be specific, the target date for the Bossert’s reopening is Oct. 1, the Brooklyn Eagle has learned.

And the co-owner of the century-old hotel at 98 Montague St. has confirmed this info is accurate.

“Your target is On Target,” David Bistricer, chairman and chief executive officer of Clipper Equity, told the Eagle via email.

In the past few years, projected opening dates have come and gone several times. And the Waldorf Astoria of Brooklyn, as it was once known, has remained closed. Is this really, finally going to happen?

Asked if there’s any unfinished business that must be taken care of before the hotel can open, Bistricer replied, “We’re finishing up construction — there are no hurdles.”

Clipper Equity and the Chetrit Group paid the Jehovah’s Witnesses $81 million for the Italian Renaissance-style property in 2012, and have been remodeling it into a luxury boutique hotel with a rooftop restaurant.

Prior to its sale, the religious group had been using the Bossert to provide free lodging for its members who were visiting the Watchtower’s Brooklyn Heights headquarters.

The sale was part of an ongoing effort by the Jehovah’s Witnesses to liquidate their real estate holdings in the neighborhood and DUMBO because they’re moving their headquarters to Warwick, N.Y.

Conga line in the Gold Room

The Hotel Bossert has a rich history. How’s that for an understatement?

It was designed by prestigious architecture firm Helmle & Huberty and built in 1909.

In the ensuing decades, it was beloved by debutantes and Dodgers alike. The Marine Roof, a nautically themed restaurant and nightclub on top of the building, was a famous hot spot with superb views of Manhattan.

The Dodgers, whose headquarters office was in Brooklyn Heights, used the Bossert for their party venue on Oct. 4, 1955, after winning Game 7 of the World Series. It was the only time, ever, that the Dodgers won the World Series as a Brooklyn team.

The Daily News reported in a story written by Art Smith that 2,000 fans swarmed outside the hotel that night to watch the players arrive for the party.

At the shindig in the Gold Room, Dodgers’ pitcher and 1955 World Series Most Valuable Player Johnny Podres and power hitter Duke Snider “led a crazy conga,” Smith wrote.

Readers with long memories will recall that Snider’s nickname was the Duke of Flatbush.

According to Francis Morrone’s book, “An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn,” the Marine Roof closed in 1949. That would explain why the Dodgers’ victory party wasn’t held upstairs, under the stars.     

Bienvenidos a Brooklyn Heights

Fast-forward to present-day Brooklyn Heights.

The Bossert’s lobby, though still under construction, is looking good these days, as passersby can see through open doors and windows.

Light from elaborate chandeliers illuminates its beautiful coffered ceilings. A back wall is decorated with a mural showing the Brooklyn waterfront of yesteryear and the arrival of Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, on a steamer.

As has been previously reported, Fën Hoteles has been hired to operate the Esplendor Bossert Brooklyn, as the hotel will be called. Esplendor is one of the Argentinian company’s brands.

Fën also operates Dazzler Brooklyn, a hotel in Downtown Brooklyn.

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