By Allison Joyce
The Boatel is an eccentric floating hotel run by artists in New York City’s Far Rockaway neighborhood. Built out of 16 abandoned or discarded boats at Marina 59, near Kennedy airport, the lovingly restored accommodations are decorated with colorful paints and decorations. A psychedelic-themed cabin is complete with tie-dye and a beaded chandelier, while another with a science theme has fossils, a magnifying glass and binoculars.
A one night stay costs between $55 to $100 for a boat, all of which can comfortably accommodate at least two people, and in some cases more. The proceeds go toward taxes, upkeep, and future art residency programs that will allow more boats to be restored.
What is really unique about the Boatel is that no one is trying to make a profit – they are only trying to support and perpetuate a thriving local art community.
The informally-run operation was started in 2011, with 5 boats, by an artist named Constance Hockaday. The hotel is currently being managed by artists Angie Kang and Orien McNeill, who live in a beached boat and trailer on the Marina 59 property.
The Boatel is an oasis among all that city life entails. With the cool breeze, the aroma of meats crackling on the grill and the beach-like atmosphere, it’s easy to forget that you’re in New York City. That is, until you hear the screaming jets from JFK taking off directly overhead and the soft hum of the subway in the distance, or catch sight of a towering housing project, with more than 4500 residents, a short distance away.