Photo Essay | A Floating Flophouse in the Rockaways

For $50, guests can spend a night aboard a makeshift flotilla in the Rockaways known as the Boggsville Boatel — 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.

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
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
Boatel interior

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

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