To the dismay of residents, a developer is planning on adding a rooftop restaurant and bar to the historic premises of the Bossert Hotel in Brooklyn Heights. Locals are worried that the bar will add unwanted noise pollution to the neighborhood as hotel guests and restaurant patrons stay up to the wee hours drinking and partying while the rest of the neighborhood is trying to catch their “zees.” Residents add that this has already become a problem at several of Manhattan’s luxury hotels.
“We want to work with the developers to make sure there are enforceable restrictions around noise,” said Elizabeth Bailey who has lived across the street from the Bossert for 27 years.
Ms. Bailey, together with a group of residents from the area are requesting that the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals dismiss or greatly curtail the hotel owner’s application to have the zoning for the building changed so that a bar and restaurant can open on the roof. The developers want to request the change at a hearing scheduled for September 11.
According to Kathleen Cudahy, a spokeswoman for the new owners of the Bossert Hotel, a “design consultant” has been engaged to guarantee that there is “no adverse impact due to any noice.”
“This is not going to be a big destination place for large events such as a wedding or a bar mitzvah,” Cudahy added.
Al Butzel is the lawyer representing the neighborhood group. A month ago he met with several people representing the developers of the hotel, David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit to make sure the owners understand the worries of the residents, not just the noise issue but also traffic, since the hotel is located down a narrow, one way street.
“It's a tiny little street taken over by Key Food trucks and kids walking with their parents. The developers have referred to the Carlyle as being their prototype but this is not Madison Avenue,” Bailey said.
The Bossert Hotel was built in 1909 and is named after Louis Bossert, the lumber mogul who built the Italian Renaissance Revival-style structure. The original purpose of the building was as an apartment hotel. In the 1920s the Bossert became famous for its “Marine Roof” restaurant which was two levels built on top of the 14 story hotel. The restaurant had a wonderful view of Manhattan.
In 1983 Jehovah’s Witnesses bought the building and used it as a community center for long and short-term stays by members. The building was recently sold for approximately $90 million to its present developers Bistricer and Chetrit recently. Their resumes as hotel owners have some stains on it: Bristricer was on the Public Advocate’s list of worst landlord for a long list of violations, although he has since been removed from that list. A judge had to force Chetrit to lower the volume of the music being played at the luxury rooftop bar at the Empire Hotel, another of his properties.
As the residence of several Brooklyn Dodgers in the 50s, the one and only World Series win for the Dodgers, in 1955, was celebrated at the Bossert Hotel.