Since 2011, Brooklyn-based artist Thomas Stevenson has organized urban camping excursions?where the destination is not state parks or wooded forests but rather industrial, unglamorous, utterly rustic-in-their-own-way New York City rooftops. During Stevenson's four-night adventure this Thursday through Sunday, 15 guests will fold themselves into seven bare-bones tents, all wood-framed and covered in yellow canvas. It's no hidden water tower speakeasy, but guests do gather together for communal meals and traditional outdoor activities like
a little (contained, don't worry) bonfire non-flammable attempted star-gazing. In fact, any kind of fire is strictly prohibited under his park-ranger-like watch, Stevenson says, so light those on your own roof. He sees the whole to-do as a participatory art project, which he's dubbed Bivouac NYC, whose main purpose is to encourage New Yorkers to disconnect from 24/7 technology and a pressure-filled lifestyle. To that end, there's a toilet and a small library, but no showers or internet. Some spots are still available for this Friday and Saturday via the sign-up page. The exact location isn't disclosed until right before your stay, but past campsites have included Bushwick and Williamsburg. Don't forget your sleeping bag.
As Stevenson describes to the Observer: "You'll wake up the next morning. Your friends have just finished their normal rounds at bars, a few reruns of late night TV. They'll ask, 'Hey, what did you do last night?'?. 'I camped out on a rooftop,' you'll say." And if you miss this weekend's outing, fear not, because Stevenson is on a roll, having set up 30 or so similar campgrounds over the last two years, with the next New York installation slated for July. This year, he aims to spearhead camp-outs on rooftops in London and Boston, too.
· Bivouac NYC [official]
· Under the Stars and Above the Streets: Artist Organizes Rooftop Campground [NYO]
· Artist Invites You to Go Rooftop Camping, or Bivouacking, in the City [Runnin' Scared]
· A New York City Water Tower Doubles As A Hidden Speakeasy [Curbed]
· Urban Explorers archive [Curbed]