FDNY Shuts Down Hipster Party Boat in Newtown Creek

By Meredith Hoffman on October 11, 2013 3:16pm 

 The ferry at 190 Morgan Avenue was vacated Friday, FDNY said.
The ferry at 190 Morgan Avenue was vacated Friday, FDNY said.
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DNAinfo/Meredith Hoffman

EAST WILLIAMSBURG — Brooklyn's party boat could be sunk.

An old ferry boat docked on Newtown Creek known for hosting "secret" parties and housing art studio spaces was shut down Friday afternoon after investigators deemed it unsafe.

The barge, docked at 190 Morgan Avenue, has been hosting drum circles, DJ sets, "open fire pits" and "private little nooks" since 2009, according to Gothamist.

But an FDNY chief who vacated the boat Friday said it was a "derelict vehicle" being used as a "hotel-slash-crash pad."

"There were a bunch of people on there," the FDNY chief said, noting that they had learned of the boat from an anonymous complaint. "It's an old ferry."

He said that between 20 and 30 people were renting out rooms on the boat and getting electricity from a wire linking the boat to a source on the vacant lot.

Parties on the boat, sometimes referred to as the "Bushwick Boat" or "Spaceship," were once thought to be an urban legend. One fiesta was so popular that it drew 1500 guests to frolic and to listen to live bluegrass music.

"The party is run by a group of artists and friends, some of whom live on the boat," Gothamist wrote in 2009, "offering a night of music, dance, and performance art in a couch-strewn hull."

People on the boat declined to comment Friday and directed questions to the phone number listed for the property. The man who answered that number also declined to comment.

Neighbor Dan Richfield, who works at the the Re-Co Brooklyn lumberyard at 200 Morgan, said that he got along fine with the people who operated the boat, but it looked the worse for wear.

"The boat is not a shining model of a vessel," he said.

The landlord was not able to be reached for comment, and the Parks Department did not immediately return requests for comment as to whether the boat had a permit to be docked at the site.

Janon Fisher contributed reporting.

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