“Let’s first get one thing straight: we are not a real hotel. This is an adventure at best, art project at worst.” – Constance Hockaday
The “Boggsville Boatel” installation is located within Marina 59, a working class marina, home to fisherman who have been living on the water for over 20 years. The sense of community is strong, and neighboring boat owners aren’t shy to wave a hand or to shout out from their deck. While much of the landscape remains raw and the atmosphere calm, there are certainly markers to remind you that you are just an hour from Manhattan. A depot of yellow school buses sits visible in the distance, the east of the water is flanked by housing projects, and just about every 10 minutes you can see a plane fresh from JFK sweep low above-head – the airport sits just 3 miles north of the marina. There is something at once serene, modest, and bittersweet about the experience – enjoy it, but just don’t get too comfortable because eventually you’ll have to go back to the bustle of the city.
To call the Boatel no frills would be an understatement; visitors are required to bring their own bedding and food, and not one of the boats has electricity, a functioning kitchen or bathroom. The marina does however host a sleek modern bathroom, complete with showers, and grills are provided for guests dockside along with a box-full of bug spray.
The crowd you’ll meet here will probably look much like your neighbors – most guests come from the lower boroughs of Manhattan – but it does represent an unlikely faction of the city pulled together in the name of fun and adventure. Guests to the Boatel work in everything from theater to finance to fitness. Hipsters can check their pretension at the gate because social status is zero to none.