Experimental tourist beacon the Boggsville Boatel has been a source of fascination for New Yorkers this summer: it's a donation-based floating hotel, located on a down-at-the-hills marina in Far Rockaway, and sold out for the season in a matter of days. We enlisted a tipster to document her experience there last weekend. Take it away!
"There is no big "Boatel straight ahead!" sign at Marina 59, and no smiling sailors to greet you at the gate. You walk in and there is just an... actual marina with real boats. After some wandering (interloping, as they like to call it) we found "our" end of the pier, with the neon sign and a guy named T.J., who was a sweet if not socially compelling individual. He showed us our boat, our cooler, which was still full of his beer, and motioned to some folding chairs that he left on our back deck. Complimentary." More from our tipster:
"Our boat was tied to a big pier full of little grills and a big movie screen for later. All of the other "boatels" were tied up around us, like tents at Girl Scout camp, which is kind of how this whole thing felt, except imagine if Girl Scout camp took place in the middle of a trailer park. Weird politics and forced social interaction aside, as a New Yorker, I couldn't help but feel a series of little thrills over all the boat-y things we got to do. You know, that part of you that is totally deprived and knows your fetishizing an experience but at the same time it's still really nice? That was us with our grilled corn and asparagus, with cutting our bread with a pocket knife, with paddling out into the bay to watch the sunset come down over the school bus parking lot."
Urban photographer Nathan Kensinger, whose photos are featured above, visited the Boatel to delve into the history of Marina 59 and Far Rockaway. and found it "surprisingly peaceful. The sounds of the city - jets taking off from JFK, elevated subway trains, traffic from the Edgemere Houses - tend to fade away into the background as gentle waves rock the platform. Despite its urban setting, the Sommerville Basin is a pleasant and quiet refuge."
· Sleeping in the Somerville Basin [Nathan Kensinger Photography]
· Constance Hockaday’s Boggsville Boatel and Boat-In Theater [Flux Factory]