November 5, 2012

Video coverage of the Rockaways from the NY Times and Democracy Now.

"The bay actually met the sea in the middle island at a level of 5 feet."

November 4, 2012
Status Of The Rockaways After Sandy And What You Can Do

The Rockaways were one of the areas hardest hit by the hurricane and with 120,000 residents, most stayed during the storm. Lifting off of its foundations and smashing into houses, cars and fences, the boardwalk was completely destroyed. Homes were swept away by the surge and fires flattened over 100 houses in Breezy Point. Residents have been gutting their homes for days and gigantic piles of furniture and debris now fill the streets. Making a temporary dump at Riis Park, garbage trucks have been dumping load after load in its parking lot. Power has still not been restored to this neighborhood, many homes and stores have been looted. After the sewers leaked, tap water is no longer drinkable.

With little immediate help from the city, the local community has rallied together, setting up clothing and food distribution centers and they need your help! The fire station at 59th street and Veggie Island on 96th street are two main donation centers but food and clothing should be delivered to far out areas that are still in isolation. For information on how to volunteer, visit the occupysandy website which is shuttling people from Jacobi Church in Sunset Park. The houseboat owners will be down there again next weekend. If you would like to help out, let us know!

(Above photo of looting sign courtesy of ceodollhouse, a Rockaway resident who has been posting on Instagram, and who provided most of our news for the first couple days.)

November 2, 2012
What’s Going On And How To Help:

Where To Volunteer This Weekend Brokelyn

Compilation of Rockaway Needs And Resources — Rockabus

How To Help In New York City After Hurricane Sandy — Time Out New York

Coordinating Donations And Volunteers For Rockaway Relief Efforts — Brooklyn Kitchen

How To Help: Hurricane Sandy Recovery (by borough) —WNYC

Press about the Rockaways:

Rockaways Face Widespread Destruction: It Was Like Sitting ‘In The Middle Of The Sea’ — Huffington Post

28 Unbelievable Photos From The Rockaways In The Wake Of Hurricane Sandy — Gothamist

Hurricane Sandy: The Aftermath — The Atlantic

Questions? Tips? Additions? Email us at

November 1, 2012

The scene at Marina 59 on October 31, 2012.

October 31, 2012
Assessing Sandy’s Damage

We took a trip out to Far Rockaway today and are happy to report that the boat has indeed weathered the storm with really minimal damage. However, the Rockaways are in really terrible shape. Debris has washed up all over the place, so many houses and stores are totally flooded and the boardwalk is almost completely destroyed. The island is still without power, there are fires, looting and the place feels like a war zone. Check out photos here.

As for the houseboat, she has a gash (maybe 6-inchs long) in the hull about 5 inches above the waterline.

We think this is because the finger dock on the starboard side flipped over during the storm and must have smashed into the side of the boat.

We need to get the hole repaired ASAP, but in the meantime, we’ve plugged it with some rags.

Additionally, the skylight over the Captain’s Quarters room was completely gone so we grabbed some discarded fiberglass and weighed it down with wood and heavy plants to keep out the elements while we come up with a more long-term solution.

We are so incredibly lucky and our hearts go out everyone who has been terribly affected by this wicked storm. Please consider contributing to the relief efforts somehow, here’s a post from Gothamist about how you can help.

October 30, 2012
Initial Sandy Report - The Houseboat Is Afloat

Wanted to let everyone know that we have heard reports that the boat is still at the marina and seems to have survived the storm. We have yet to assess damages but are so happy to hear that she is afloat. Once it is safe for us to travel that way, we will go check in and do what we can to take care of her. Things sound pretty terrible on the Rockaways, with reports of fires, flooding and looting. We are hoping for the best for the community out there.

UPDATE [4:38 pm]: Just heard that the houseboat is indeed OK but has minor damages and badly needs to be retied because it is resting diagonally in its slip. We’re waiting for bridges to open so that we can get out there ASAP.

UPDATE [1:24 am]: We got the following message on Facebook:

"hey, some of the fishermen retied your boat. cleats came off, i think, was swung around crushing neighbor boat. they mentioned a hole made by something metal few inches above the waterline."

October 19, 2012

The question on everyone’s mind about the houseboat is how we are going to weather the cold winter months coming up just around the corner. Well, we are just embarking upon that journey but one of our first steps is to make sure that the beast is secured strongly to the dock by installing new cleats and re-tying the lines so that they are pulling in all the right directions to keep our boat from swaying in the blustery winter winds.

Here’s a shot from the roof of the boat, looking down over the port side:

And here’s a shot of the starboard side:

We’ve got a lot more work to do in terms of battening down the hatches, but it’s a start!

October 16, 2012

We had an amazing turnout for “Old Age Sucks and It’s Going to Be Great” by Ashton Applewhite on Sunday, October 14th. Everyone was super engaged by the monologue and the stirring discussion that followed! More photos of the event here.

October 3, 2012
Old Age Sucks and It’s Going to Be Great

Writer and journalist Ashton Applewhite writes about ageing and ageism at Staying Vertical and Yo Is This Ageist. We’re incredibly excited to be hosting a performance of her compelling new monologue “Old Age Sucks and It’s Going to Be Great” on board the houseboat. Here’s what Ashton has to say about the project:
"I’m interested in why Americans are so ambivalent about the prospect of longer lives. I was too, until I learned more. It turns out that people are happiest at the beginnings and the ends of their lives. That the vast majority of Americans over 65 live independently. That older people are less depressed than the young or middle-aged. That the older people get, the less afraid they are of dying.
Why do these facts surprise so many? Because ageism - internalized and in the culture at large - obscures all but the most negative messages about life after 65 (or 50, or just aging past youth), with disastrous personal and political implications. In the 20th century, the civil rights and women’s movements raised our awareness of racism and sexism. It’s high time to do so around discrimination and stereotyping on the basis of age
I’ve written a 40-minute talk called “Old Age Sucks and It’s Going to Be Great” that proposes an alternative to worrying about getting old: wake up to the ageist messages that frame two thirds of our lives as decline, cheer up, and push back. It catalyzes a conversation that people are hungry for, whether they work with older people or simply hope to become one.”


Ashton Applewhite is a Knight Fellow, a New York Times Fellow, an Age Boom Fellow (Columbia University School of Journalism) and a fellow at the Yale Law School’s Information Society Project. The voice of Yo Is This Ageist, Ashton has been declared an expert on ageism by the New York Times. She’s on the board of the Council on Contemporary Families and a staff writer at the American Museum of Natural History.

If you are interested in attending the performance which will take place on Sunday, October 14, please email for details.

September 26, 2012
An audience of nearly 70 people came to watch the first live performance to take place on board the boat. It was a collection of collaborative and solo dance pieces by Mara Poliak, Lucinda Segar and Tatyana Tenenbaum. View more photos of the Blue Moon Dance which was performed on the boat’s roof during our Donor Appreciation Party on August 31st in this album.

An audience of nearly 70 people came to watch the first live performance to take place on board the boat. It was a collection of collaborative and solo dance pieces by Mara Poliak, Lucinda Segar and Tatyana Tenenbaum. View more photos of the Blue Moon Dance which was performed on the boat’s roof during our Donor Appreciation Party on August 31st in this album.

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