About BNH

The five-story building was designed by William C. Frohne in the Renaissance Revival style, and built in 1896. It is a rare survivor of the many social halls built in the nineteenth century for New York City's immigrant ethnic communities. 

 The Bohemian National Hall has been an important center for Czech and Slovak culture in New York City for more than one hundred years. Since its beginning it has served as a focal point for its community, offering ethnic food, Czech language and history classes as well as space for its large community to meet and hold various events. Today, the Bohemian National Hall represents a significant reminder of the major working-class ethnic enclave that once flourished in Yorkville and stands as a monument to an important aspect of the history of immigrants in New York City and the United States. 

 In 2001, ownership of the Bohemian National Hall was transferred from the Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association (BBLA) to the Czech Republic. To emphasize the building's link with the Czech Republic, it now shares its premises with the Consulate General and the Czech Center. The BBLA occupies the entire third floor. 


Best kept secret in NYC. Marvellous free concerts, films, book fairs and lending library. Amazingly comfortable movie theater and great restaurant directly next door.

Dorothy Kellogg / Local Guide


BNH History

1892 – Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association (BBLA) is established as an umbrella organization for over eighty Czech community groups and clubs.

1896 – Designed by architect William C. Frohne in neo-Renaissance palazzo style, Bohemian National Hall opens following successful Czech community fundraising campaign, including Antonin Dvorak-led concert in 1892.

1897 – BBLA was forced to enlarge the building eastward to fully accommodate activities in restaurant, bar, club rooms, top-floor ballroom/theater, basement bowling alley and rifle range.

1914 – WWI increases political awareness for those using the building. More than half a million Dollars of Liberty Bonds are sold here.

1939 – Political activity heightens following Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.

1940 - 60’s – As the Czech and Slovak populations moves out to the suburbs. Fewer functions are held at the Hall, space in the building is rented out to other organizations. 

1986 – Ghostly rotting building declared unfit for occupancy, though partial use permitted for occasional community events through 1990s.

1994 – Designated New York City landmark by Landmarks Preservation Commission.

1995 – Careful restoration of main façade completed by Czech-American architect Jan Hird Pokorny.

2001 – BBLA donates Bohemian National Hall to the Czech Republic for symbolic one Dollar. The Czech Government pledges to restore the building to its former glory.

2003 – First phase of renovation begins based on drawings by Czech-American architect Martin Holub.

2005 – New core and shell of the building including the third floor is completed. Building opens for partial use by BBLA.

2007 – Interior renovation of unfinished areas of the building, including ballroom, begins according to design of Czech architects Milan Kvíz and Atelier M1.

2008 – Commemorating 90 years of state independence, the Vice Prime Minister of the Czech Republic unveils fully renovated Bohemian National Hall on October 30, 2008.