Photo Essay | A Floating Flophouse in the Rockaways

Saturday, July 09, 2011

For $50, guests can spend a night aboard a makeshift flotilla in the Rockaways known as the Boggsville Boatel โ€” a group of five abandoned boats tied together on a dock in an inlet off Jamaica Bay. But the maritime accommodations aren't for everyone.

The boatel is not licensed as a hotel. Its founder bills the floating flophouse as an art project, not a business, and the $50 paid per night is a donation for an art event.

Jon Kalish for WNYC

Constance Hockaday, 29, the boatel's builder and manager, became passionate about zany maritime institutions ever since she fell in with the Floating Neutrinos, a bohemian family who sailed a houseboat made of junk across the Atlantic to Ireland.

Jon Kalish for WNYC
Boatel docks

Off in the distance the Jamaica Bay nature preserve is visible, but the boatel's serenity is diminished somewhat by jets taking off from a Kennedy Airport runway, across the bay.

Jon Kalish for WNYC
Boatel interior

Citronella candles, tea lights and flashlights provide light at night because the boats lack electricity.

Jon Kalish for WNYC
A houseboat

Hockaday said she got much of the lumber used in renovating the boats and docks from dumpters and also obtained building materials through the Long Island City-based arts group Flux Factory.

Jon Kalish for WNYC
The view includes a public housing project and a school bus graveyard.


More in:

Comments [5]


You can reserve a night for the Boatel through the FLux Factory website or brown paper tickets

Jul. 10 2011 10:58 PM
AS from Elmo, ny

If JC from NYC was REALLY from NYC, he would have said:
'squatta on wata'

anyway, if the boat owners want to come back to the bay, claim their abandoned boats, and pay to get them out in order to clean up the area, I suppose they can. I would guess they were just hoping they'd sink and be off the hook...I am sure the area is better off with this type of squatter, rather than a wreck half under water or a floating crack-house.

Jul. 10 2011 07:16 PM
Jesus Christa from NYC

Squatter on water

Jul. 10 2011 05:20 PM
Janice Ewenstein from New York, New York

Can anyone provide us with a phone number for the Boatel or for Constance Hockaday? We'd like to visit the Boatel.

Jul. 10 2011 12:03 PM
Dana and Peter from Brooklyn

Oh how wonderful. Such and a wonderful way to be creative and recycle!

Jul. 09 2011 08:55 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by