Brooklyn Heights

Storied Bossert Hotel gets a new awning

No opening date yet, but that doesn't deter throngs of passersby from snapping photos

August 20, 2018 By Francesca Norsen Tate Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Workers from The Sign Company hoist the new awning off their truck. The process was methodical and several passersby stopped to watch and shoot photos. Eagle photos by Francesca N. Tate
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The Bossert Hotel may not have a new opening date yet, but in a possible harbinger of that announcement, it does have a new awning to grace its entrance.

The awning was installed during a gentle rainfall on Sunday afternoon, August 19, with property manager Stephen Allen coming in on his day off to ensure all went smoothly, as several men operated a special hoist truck from Bensonhurst-based Sign Group, Inc.

Allen cheerfully told a group of onlookers, “We’re getting a new awning today.” He nodded when someone remarked that it looks exactly like the old awning. However, deflecting questions as to when the Bossert would reopen, he said there is no date set.

Lumber magnate Louis Bossert built his namesake hotel in 1909.  The building, located at 98 Montague Street the southeast corner of Montague and Hicks streets, was built at the former site of Pierrepont House, according to the Friday, November 5, 1909 edition of the Brooklyn Eagle. A photo and caption in March of that year had also shown the steelwork used in construction. The Bossert Hotel’s Renaissance Revival style exterior was designed by Palmer & Hornbostel.

Over the years, the Bossert and its Marine Roof were the stuff of legends. Both Louis Bossert’s granddaughters, Natalie and Isabelle, were feted at the Marine Roof for birthdays and society debuts, according to notices published in the Brooklyn Eagle Society pages.

Several Brooklyn Dodgers players lived at the Bossert, and the hotel became party central after victories. The Eagle of October 4, 1947 carried a front-page story on hitter Harry “Cookie” Lavagetto’s stunning double that made the Dodgers’ fourth game against the Yankees in that year’s World Series come alive in the fifth inning. Lavagetto carried the Dodgers to win that game. When the Dodgers carried their first (and only) World Series in 1955, fans gathered in the Bossert lobby to sing “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow” to team manager Walter Alston. Sadly, the original Brooklyn Eagle, having folded earlier that year was not around to cover the victory.

The Marine Roof reportedly was closed in 1947. The Bossert was sold to the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society in 1983. The Watchtower (Jehovah’s Witnesses) a worldwide religious organization known for maintaining meticulous properties, renovated the Bossert, which won the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Lucy G. Moses Award in 1991, according to When the Watchtower moved its world headquarters to Warwick, NY, in 2012, the organization sold the Bossert to developer David Bistricer of Clipper Equity and Joseph Chetrit of the Chetrit Group. Renovations have been ongoing for years, and members of the neighborhood were guessing when the hotel might finally re-open.

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