The newest form of hospitality has opened on the shores of Far Rockaway. Think a series of boats from the 70’s and early 80’s that have been re-crafted by artist Constance Hockaday to serve as “boatels.” Six boats in total, the majority were former fishing vessels salvaged from the area and now given a new life at Marina 59 at Far Rockaway.
29-year-old Hockaday drew inspiration for the Boggsville Boatel and Boat-In Theater from the 19th century pioneer Ms. Nancy Boggs. Boggs ran a floating brothel in the Willamette River to evade the authorities. Although a different type of entertainment from what Boggs’ vessel provided, the Boat-In Theater offers movies and lectures focused on water-related themes. They are hoping to screen Random Lunacy, a documentary based on the Floating Neutrinos, and Last Free Ride, a documentary about a houseboat community in the 60’s and 70’s in Sausalito, California. If you are looking to have a more “Boggs-like” experience, you may be lucky enough to catch a water-themed vintage porn show.
While many would think of staying on a boat as a luxury, the prices make it quite accessible—$50-100 is suggested for a night’s stay. The boats provide a rustic, camping-like experience. They have no water or electricity, although the nearby marina provides all the necessary amenities such as bathrooms and showers. There are grills on the platform and guests are encouraged to bring their own food and drink. For local information, artist TJ Hospodar has established an “office of local tourism” that is located at the marina.
Unfortunately, if you are hoping to book a room at the Boatel, it is sold out for this season (a good sign for what was deemed an experimental, artistic project). Given the high demand, it will likely re-open next summer or at least prompt other local boaters to give a new life to their boats as well.
From now until September 4, the public is invited to participate in the evening film and lecture series that run Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. There are also many other seaworthy events scheduled for the summer. For more information on specific events or to RSVP to attend an evening night of entertainment, contact the Flux Factory, a Queens gallery that is helping support the project.
How to get there: Take the A train in the direction of Far Rockaway to Beach 60th Street and walk two blocks. Biking is also an option for the more adventurous.