Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Check In, Swim Out: The Boggsville Boatel

Artist and boat-builder Constance Hockaday has constructed a series of floating hotel rooms and a theater at Marina 59 at Far Rockaway in New York City. Boggsville is a floating hotel and theater built in the Neutrino tradition, that is, fashioned out of abandoned and re-claimed boats from the marina. Five of the vessels are leisure fishing crafts from the 70’s and early 80’s, ranging from 28 to 35 feet long. Another is a 70’s drifter houseboat remodeled into a rustic penthouse. The boats are all moored around a floating platform in the middle of a small bay.

Named for Ms. Nancy Boggs, who would move her floating brothel to either side of the Willamette River of Portland to evade the law – depending on where the authorities were bringing trouble to her business – the Boatel explores the boundaries of the hospitality experience.

The Neutrino drifted into Port Isabel, Texas where a 19 year-old college dropout named Constance Hockaday was living with her parents. Hockaday, a rather alienated young woman, immediately became enthralled with the idea of living on a boat and not paying rent. Before long, she was on the boat, so to speak. Her life hasn’t been the same since.

“It’s kind of a post-apocalyptic adventure,” said Katie McKay, 34, a designer from Brooklyn who was staying aboard the houseboat with four friends. “It doesn’t feel like you’re in New York at all.” 

The Boatel is the work of an artist, Constance Hockaday, who said she hopes to attract the romantic and the adventurous — and amid them, the marina’s neighbors — to this unlikely getaway. Under the auspices of Flux Factory, a Queens gallery, it will be open for reservations Thursday through Saturday all summer long, an experiment in urban vacationing and D.I.Y. ingenuity.

“When you think about it, the water is the last remaining open public space,” said Jean Barberis, the artistic director of Flux Factory. “As artists and creative people venture more and more into the outer boroughs, there’s less and less unclaimed territory on land. But the water is still completely open.”

Boggsville Boatel is a floating hotel and theater fashioned out of abandoned and re-claimed boats, all of which sleep 2-5 people. Five of the vessels are leisure fishing crafts from the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s, ranging from 28 to 40 feet long. Another is a 70’s drifter houseboat remodeled into a rustic penthouse. Rooms include dinner and access to the Swimming Cities GOING AWAY PARTY on Sept 10, from 8pm-late. Kick it on your poop deck four blocks from the beach with cold beer, all of your friends and swim trunks—plus Cocktail Cruises in Jamaica Bay, Jerk Burgers & Pineapple Hot Dogs by Carnival Queen Lamar Iposa and Sea Shanty Karaoke.

July 7 – September 4
Marina 59, 5914 Beach Channel Drive, Far Rockaway


Americano is a Guido vessel with a long sloping bow. This boat is very private. The windows are tinted and the inside is very Slick Rick. $50 a night.

CRUMB is a quaint and comfortable boat and was probably previously owned by an elderly couple. There is a private sleeping area; it's spacious and perfect for rolling around in. She sleeps 4 people. This boat also has a shaded top deck with reclining furniture. $50 a night.

New York, NY is Euro. This boat has been remodeled to be more open than she was originally designed to be. She sleeps 3-4 people, and she has a breakfast nook, a great space for preparing lunches, and a desk for the writer-ly types. $50 a night.

Queen Zenobia is a classy little 30-foot yacht. She can sleep 3-4 people, if they are willing to snuggle up. On this boat there is a comfortable little breakfast nook and plenty of deck space for lounging around. $50 a night.

Ms. Nancy Boggs is a rustic floating cabin. This 1967 Drift-R houseboat has been remodeled into down-home love nest. This boat can sleep up to 5 people. There are two beds, one of which can fit 3.5 people. It is the perfect place to roll around with more than one or two. It has a spacious breakfast nook and several decks for sun bathing, fishing, or picnicking. $100 a night.




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