Abandoned Boats: The New Affordable Housing?


It may be more spacious than moving into a dumpster conversion, but shacking up in one of New York’s (surprisingly numerous) abandoned boats as a way to dodge the bonkers real estate market is looking less and less plausible: a group of “hipsters,” “artists,” and “drifters” (dreamers??) has been evicted from their enclave on a converted ferry in Williamsburg’s Maspeth Creek, the Post gleefully reported yesterday.

The Schamonchi, a former passenger ferry,  had been docked at 190 Morgan Ave. and equipped with electricity, a “makeshift plumbing system,” and even a jacuzzi by its alleged squatters, who neighbors say had never caused any problems, and the boat’s actual owners tell the Post had not been given permission to dock at their current location.

As the Atlantic Wire points out, the Schamonchi’s residents aren’t the first artsy types to take up offshore residences as an alternative to Brooklyn’s tight, overpriced supply of housing stock—people have pulled similar stunts on the Gowanus, and then there was the more above-board Boatel in the Rockaways—but the actual costs and effort involved in making this kind of thing work (not to mention the generally enviable finances of Brooklyn’s more well-publicized boat dwellers) do sort of indicate that this isn’t really that hardscrabble a lifestyle choice. Or a particularly realistic one, given that “living on an abandoned vessel” is a real charge the FDNY can and does level against abandoned boat dwellers. So, on to the next idea. Unless anyone wants to try their luck on the abandoned Coney Island submarine?

[Photo via Winds Against Current]

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.


  1. This is the type of irresponsible reporting that kills every interesting project.
    What makes these people dreamers? Is it because they are doing something different than everyone else?
    When did that become a bad thing? Perhaps Virginia K. Smith should think along those lines.
    Currently she(you) is just the same as the rest of the self righteous pseudo intellectual libel and drivel peddlers trying to get people to follow the pathetic words the poison people with on the internet.

    It’s an article written about an article!
    Way to go!

    Here is a question for you. If the boat’s “actual owners” knew where the boat was, they obviously knew there were people living on it. How is it these people are referred to as squatters?

    Wonderful, it’s ok everyone problem solved! Go back to your mindless morning shuffle to your mindless job, go home to your human filing cabinet and sleep easy, those pesky boat hipsters will harm the world no more!


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