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51 Clark Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201-2415
IN 1885, when Brooklyn was still an independent city, the St. George Hotel was rising on Clark Street, just steps from the East River. At 2,623 rooms, it would become the nation’s largest and grandest hotel. By the early 1930s, its new tower rose more than 30 stories.
Occupying an entire block of Brooklyn Heights, between Hicks, Henry, Clark and Pineapple Streets, the St. George was a beacon that attracted some of the brightest lights in American society.
During the hotel’s heyday, from the 1930s to the ’50s, F. Scott Fitzgerald raised a glass there, Presidents Truman and Roosevelt spent the night, and Truman Capote swam regularly in its Olympic-size salt-water pool below a grand mirrored ceiling. Celebrities and socialites danced in the Colorama ballroom, illuminated with about 1,000 multicolor bulbs.
But by the 1960s, the St. George’s popularity as an opulent destination had waned. Many of the hotel’s rooms were empty, and the place fell into a long period of disrepair. In 1984, the pale-brick tower was converted to luxury co-ops.
By 1995, when a fire destroyed much of the original hotel, the St. George had long since faded into obscurity. The Hotel now offers student housing.