When Boatel opened in 2011 it seemed like a cute enough idea: a bunch of old boats creating an artsy floating motel, just off the coast of that new media darling Rockaway. But soon enough there were complaints about the boats, which don't have a/c, or comfortable sleeping quarters, or very much at all... especially if you're used to high thread count accommodations. One former guest declared: "This place is a dump. There's nothing cute about sweating like Typhoid Mary while bugs, drunk on your plasma, hover mockingly just above your head. On a scale of 1 to 10 i give the Boatel the finger."
Towards the end of the summer we heard rumors that Boatel was losing money, that staff was quitting and/or not getting paid, and that the whole endeavour had become a huge, well, clusterfuck. Now DNA Info reports Marina 59's owner Ari Zablozki (who had donated the boats to Boatel) is pulling the boats from the water, but Boatel's organizer Angie Kang assures that her "boats will then be ready for something new"... though it's unclear what, and where. The last night of the current Boatel will be the night before Halloween.
As for Zablozki, he may be readying to create a new, shiny version of Boatel—Kang says, “He wants to create a place his mother would be comfortable staying." We've reached out to her for more info, and will update when we hear back.