My friend Kelsey is now an editor at Curbed and I sent her a crazed email about my visit to the no-tell boatel. I feel bad for anyone who is trying to spin my writing into something readable and borderline informative, but she seemed up to the task.
There are more photos and such on the site, but this is what I sent her, in case you were all on the edge of your seats wondering how it went:
The best part of staying at the boatel is saying “Friday is the
boatel!” and laughing when you tell your coworkers why you’re leaving
early on Friday. I also really enjoyed going to the farmer’s market
and dreamily picking out all the things I wanted to grill, as if I
knew how to grill things. It’s best, I found, to pretend you aren’t
actually participating in someone’s art project wherein you pay $50 to
stay on a non-functioning boat that goes nowhere. Instead imagine you
have just acquired a real boat and are setting out tonight and this $6
ciabatta is totally part of this new boat life of yours.
There is no big “Boatel straight ahead!” sign at Marina 59, and no
smiling sailors to greet you at the gate. You walk in and there is
just an…actual marina with real boats. This is when I looked around
confused and tried not to tell my boyfriend that the joke was on us.
After some wandering (interloping, as they like to call it) we found
“our” end of the pier, with the neon sign and a guy named T.J., who
was a sweet if not socially compelling individual. He showed us our
boat, our cooler, which was still full of his beer, and motioned to
some folding chairs that he left on our back deck. Complimentary.
Our boat was tied to a big pier full of little grills and a big movie
screen for later. All of the other “boatels” were tied up around us,
like tents at Girl Scout camp, which is kind of how this whole thing
felt, except imagine if Girl Scout camp took place in the middle of a
trailer park. You’re there to visit and pretend to be outdoorsy for a
week. Everyone else lives there and has to listen to you sing “Peel,
peel banana” into the wee hours of the night.
This was kinda like that.
Weird politics and forced social interaction aside, as a New Yorker, I
couldn’t help but feel a series of little thrills over all the boatey
things we got to do. You know, that part of you that is totally
deprived and knows your fetishizing an experience but at the same time
it’s still really nice? That was us with our grilled corn and
asparagus, with cutting our bread with a pocket knife, with paddling
out into the bay to watch the sunset come down over the school bus
parking lot. We sat and watched the Herzog movie about lifting a boat
over a mountain in the Amazon, cuddled together in our shitty folding
chairs, looking up at the stars, and the planes taking off from JFK.
Ha. We were only mildly annoyed by the fellow boateller yelling
through his sangria and adult braces. We tried to be friendly but
still ended up being the social outcasts of the boatel, reading our
books in the sun while everyone else gathered together to buy coffee
and bagels from the empanada girl. We got our coffee from the Bait
Shop guy, which I felt made me a more legitimate citizen of Marina 59.
After I gave him a dollar he asked me how I was liking it. I told him
it was really nice just to be out here. I imagined us becoming fast
friends and then maybe him offering to take us out on his real boat
that has electricity and can go places.
That never happened.
If anyone wants to read the other 2,000 words/bullet points I have in a word document about this, I am happy to email it to you directly.