Last year we ventured out to the new Rockaway spot Boatel, and its abandoned ships at Marina 59 are back again this season, with vacancies available through November 1st. Photographer Sam Horine was there earlier this summer, and he gave us the rundown, along with some pointers.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Don't expect to swim: "I mean you could swim but the water was fairly brackish right off the docks." Horine adds, "It's pretty much a no-rules hotel, so if there were loud people there and you wanted to sleep, it might be tough, although you could also rent a boat that was further away from the central dock where pretty much all the hanging out happens." Don't expect luxury accommodations—"it's pretty rustic and 'fend for yourself' but if you're into that kind of thing then it's totally awesome, and you certainly can't beat the price to get out of the city for the night." It's also worth noting that their Floating Cinema shows movies on some nights (screening schedule here).
THE BOATS "The boats are all one of a kind and are each receiving personalizations from local artists—our boat had a very Caribbean red leather theme, other boats had 70s disco theme, and others were decked out with paper mermaids. We had a great time on the Sweet Annisa, which was billed as the only one with power although we found that all of the boats had power. If I were going to stay there again, which i totally would, I'd pick the houseboat since it's the largest of the boats with the most comfortable sleeping quarters."
WHAT TO BRING: Bug spray—"some of the boats have screens in the windows but others don't and since it's the summer and there isn't any AC on the boats it can get hot and sticky." Also bring food and drinks—"there's a grill and central 'living room' dock for communal hanging."
GETTING THERE: You can take public transportation, but it's "definitely easiest to drive there—drive or zipcar or get a taxi at the train station." The marina is in a "fairly sketchy neighborhood," which means you probably don't want to roam around off the docks too much after dark, either.
The abandoned boats start at $55 a night, running up to $105. Click through to get a look at the place as it looks this year—this afternoon Boatel's Angie Kang told us, "I think it’s pretty different from last year’s project," adding, "We like to encourage everyone to create their own experience."