The Schamonchi, aka the Bushwick Boat, might be one of Brooklyn’s best-kept secrets: a former 650-passenger ferry docked in Newtown Creek, tucked behind a lumber yard, that’s used for Burning Man-style parties and other word-of-mouth events. Now the creatives who consider the 6,000-square-foot, 130-foot-long boat their community space are trying to raise money to fix up the ailing, 41-year-old vessel.
According to a fundraiser page, the ship’s minders want to turn it into a “much-needed gathering and workspace for educational, cultural, community-oriented, environmental, and similar organizations” by putting it in dry-dock, replacing damaged steel, and giving it a much-needed paint job. They’re trying to raise $300,000 through a website and via a June 1 pool party on the rooftop of the Williamsburg Hotel. The invite implores attendees to “Save Our Ship” and “Keep the Boat Afloat!”
The Schamonchi is currently outfitted with a “wood/metal shop, co-working/gathering spaces, full kitchen, hot tub and sauna,” the fundraiser’s organizers say. But it’s in bad shape. According to a listing offering up the vessel for $70,000, the steel hull is “in need of a lot of TLC” and the exterior paint is chipping and peeling. The broker who posted the listing tells Bedford + Bowery that the boat is better off being scrapped, since the engines are worth $40,000 each and there’s a hole in the hull.
“It stays afloat by two constantly running large bilge pumps,” the broker, Gregory Stanton, told us. “It resides on one of the most polluted waterways in America, which does not help things.”
The Schamonchi was built in Maine in 1978 and served as a ferry between Martha’s Vineyard and New Bedford; in 2005, a buyer paid $105,000 for it with the intention of turning it into a party boat. Even then, the Vineyard Gazette described it as “a vessel with rust spots sitting forlornly at a dock.”
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Day 357, Wednesday – #brooklin – Удивительно, как всего за пару месяцев умудряешься прикипеть к какому-то месту (даже если оно периодически плавает). Хотя, возможно, успеваешь привязаться все таки к людям, которые создают это самое место, создают его душевную атмосферу и невероятную творческую энергию. До встречи, #schamonchi , я буду скучать. #turbomasala365
The ship has served its current purpose for “nearly a decade,” according to the fundraiser page. Aside from being a destination for Bushwick’s in-the-know artists and party people, it has flown mostly under the radar, though the Times reported in 2008 that the owner was a 29-year-old real estate investor who originally intended to turn it into “a proper residence or a floating playground, complete with helipad.” At the time, five “secretive and resourceful” residents were accessing the ship through a hole in a fence, living without running water, furnishing it with Craigslist giveaways, and making occasional trips to the city in a motorboat. In 2013, the ship was again in the news when the FDNY booted 10 artists living there.
This isn’t the first time the boat’s denizens have tried to raise money. Last year, an invite for a monthly fundraiser promised dinner, cocktails, “immersive experiences,” an art show, DJs and live music. Saturday’s fete is being thrown by the art party producers at JunXion, Love Medicine, Orijins, and Members Only.
The online fundraiser is offering perks such as a two-year membership that allows access to the boat’s gathering spaces and private events.