FIRST LOOK: Inside the Bossert Hotel renovation

The Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

STARE WELL: A marble staircase leads from the lobby to a balcony.
CRYSTAL RING: A huge chandelier hangs over the lobby.
B IS FOR BOSSERT: A view from the balcony above the lobby.
DON DRAPES: Heavy velvet curtains adorn a window in the hall on the hotel’s ground floor.
STRONG ISLAND: This mural in the hotel’s ground floor hall depicts a busy port near Manhattan’s Fraunces Tavern.
DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL: Get a load of this classy elevator indicator.
TOP FLIGHT: A view of Downtown from the penthouse.

An historic Brooklyn Heights hotel is on its way to becoming Brooklyn’s Waldorf Astoria all over again and, at a Purim party in the building this past weekend, our photographer could not help but get shots of the impressive restoration in progress.

The storied Bossert Hotel, which sits on the corner of Montague and Hicks streets and famously hosted the victory party for the World-Series-winning Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955, has sat fallow for decades, but is on its way to becoming a world-class tourist destination once more.

Lumber magnate Louis Bossert built the 14-story hotel in 1909. Jehovah’s Witnesses bought it in the 1980s and used it for visiting members of the church and it also housed a number of permanent residents.

Real estate developers David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit bought the property in 2012 with promises to return the Italian renaissance revival building to its former glory and, if the gleaming details in the lobby are any indication, they meant it.

Tarps and partitions still line the grand main floor and most of the other levels are in the midst of gut renovations, with the exception of the 13th floor, where longtime tenants are still bunking down.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Steve from Mid-America says:
That is what it looked like when Jehovah's Witnesses had it. They restored the lobby to its beautiful state.
March 17, 2014, 3:11 pm
Sara from Iowa says:
When is it supposed to open for lodging?
March 17, 2014, 7:58 pm
kelly from Park Slope says:
None of these photos reflect the renovation. These architectural details were all in place when the Jehovah's Witnesses restored it.
March 18, 2014, 11:50 am
MH from Brooklyn Heights says:
Rather sure that #5 depicts Fraunces Tavern, Pearl St., Manhattan...
March 18, 2014, 3:53 pm
Scott from Massachusetts says:
As one of Jehovah's Witnesses I had the privilege of participating in the renovation project at the Bossert Hotel. Cohi Towers Assoc purchased the building in 1983 and started a rehab project. It was purchased in 1988 by the Watchtower Society and was in very poor condition. Initially I worked in the demolition phase. The restoration work required replacing all the doors {including closets} and windows each of the 275 rooms were completely renovated. We used mahogany. The entire plumbing, heating & electrical systems were likewise replaced. A crew of 39 worked on the roof, working for months on scaffolds, to repair the outside masonry of the hotel. The elevators were renovated. The ball rooms were customized to three beautiful dining rooms. The kitchen in the basement was completely gutted, rebuilt, and refitted with new equipment.

The mural in the downstairs lobby was done by an very accomplished artist who is also one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The lobby was painstakingly restored. This included the gilded ceiling trim in the photo. Each of the marble like columns were repaired by a special process that is considered to have been lost. Research was done to rediscover the plaster technique. The outside stone of the building was completely cleaned. My understanding is that the historical society marveled at the finished product. So who ever is “restoring” the building has a headstart.
March 18, 2014, 4:33 pm
VLSilveri from AZ says:
Visited the Bossert many times during the 90's and early 2000' was in pristeen restored condition. Great care was taken to restore it to it's original splendor by the owners at the time, Jehovah's Witnesses. They restored and renovated several historical buildings in Brooklyn Heights. Likewise, the Stanley Theater in Jersey City, NJ. It now serves as a meeting place for worship, but it's completely restored to it's original glory.
Nov. 11, 2014, 6:52 pm
Mario from Massachusetts says:
I too had the privilege of working on a number of building projects,most notably the Stanley Theater in Jersey City. Those of us who were attending local congregations were assigned to 24 watch inside the theater after the Society purchased it. The building had been closed for a number of years, showing signs of neglect. Then began a complete interior demolition,followed by total re-construction by thousands of well-organized volunteers of skilled and unskilled workers all working together, humbly following directions no matter their skill in the secular field. Many took time off from work,others such as myself showed up after work,as well as all day Saturday and Sunday. We worked hard but enjoyed every minute of it. I think we followed that up by working on the exterior a year later. I remember our first Circuit Assembly there. We had approximately 4000 in attendance. The work done on the Stanley is just one of thousands undertaken around the world by willing volunteers who neither look for the glory nor do they recieve any pay. These memories will last a lifetime.
Aug. 12, 2016, 2:27 pm

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