Our Sam Polcer was lucky enough to get a spot at Brooklyn’s only floating hotel, and sent us the following dispatch: “Press is coming,” posted a friend involved with Constance Hockaday’s now-legendary Boggsville Boatel and Boat-In Theater project on her Facebook wall. “Book now.” Two weeks later, on the hottest day of the year, my girlfriend and I came to a bay in the Far Rockaways prepared with candles, whiskey and sausages for a night aboard a once-discarded boat moored at the end of a fishing- and pleasure-boat marina. Darkness fell, and the lights of JFK twinkled in the distance beyond a wrecked, rusted tugboat; housing projects loomed near the water’s edge. Before long, a dozen or so guests gathered on a floating platform to watch a movie, after which we talked, grilled, drank and retreated to our “rooms” and let the water rock us to sleep. The next morning, roused by sunlight and heat, we jumped in the water.
2011 may go down as the summer that Brooklynites discovered the Rockaways en masse, the scent of fish tacos and salty air leading bike brigades in search of beach-town bungalow rentals and surf lessons. The new frontier presented exciting opportunities, some more imaginative—and successful—than others. Hockaday’s improbable vision exceeded expectations, both hers (thanks in part to a New York Times article, after which, sure enough, the Boatel was fully booked for the season) and mine. I hear she’s planning on doing it again next summer. Book now.