Gallery: PHOTOS: Constance Hockaday’s Boggsville Boatel Turns Defunct B...

A ride out to the Far Rockaway is not a trip often taken by the average New Yorker, but if you've been hankering to make your way past Brooklyn, there's a great reason to get out of the city and deep into nature - or something pretty darn close. Just an hour's subway ride out from lower Manhattan, you'll leave the glitz and glam of the Big Apple behind and be transported through a water landscape dotted with marshes, houses set on stilts and cranes swooping across the river for a taste of what's below. At the end of the line you'll find yourself at the gate of Marina 59 where your sea-adventure awaits - but here's the kick - you don't even have to leave the dock to feel the wind in your hair. Designed for Flux Factory's Sea Worthy exhibition, Constance Hockaday's "Boggsville Boatel" is one part art installation, one part hotel and one part summer water adventure. Transforming seven defunct boats that were left in disrepair on dry land, Hocakaday's installation brings the city folk to a simpler life.

© Michael DePasquale

“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.

© Michael DePasquale

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.

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1 Comment

  1. Brian Perkins August 17, 2011 at 11:23 am

    How to get there from Valencia,Spain?