Real Estate

This rent-stabilized boat for $300/month is NYC’s last affordable apartment

This boat is basically rent-stabliized, since docking fees don't increase based on slimy landlords' greed.
This boat is basically rent-stabliized, since docking fees don’t increase based on slimy landlords’ greed.

It’s getting bad out there for the broke. So bad that just last month, struggling artists had to build their next performance space out on the Hudson River. Rent is so high we can’t even afford the affordable stuff, and the media are trying to turn us soft about it. But we’re not going to let them, no sir. We’re still bringing you the first word on affordable living situations, no matter how outlandish they may be. And speaking of “out land”-ish, here’s a living situation aboard a sailboat — which might be the only affordable housing left in Brooklyn.

Listed on Craigslist by a European artist (of course), the sailboat is “a wonderful living opportunity” for anyone looking to save on rent this summer. Why so wonderful? Because the renter, Hannes Bend, is willing to have you live there for free.  “I ask for no money,” reads Bend’s listing, “but eventually the boat could be subleased. Then we would split income.”

First of all, this is a much better boat-related summer plan than schlepping a free yacht all the way from Sheepshead Bay. And as far-fetched as this rental offer sounds, it’s a heckuva lot more realistic than trying to live alone anywhere else in Brooklyn. Still need convincing? Brokelyn reached out to Bend and got his take on why living inside a boat might actually be the sanest thing you do this year.


Avast, there be no room-mateys on this ship
Avast, there be no room-mateys on this ship.

“Not living in a box feels nice,” Bend told us of his living situation at sea. Granted, the sailboat’s living quarters (pictured above) are pretty tiny. But hey, whenever you start to feel claustrophobic below deck, all you have to do is climb above and behold the open water, or the land around wherever you’re docked.

According to the Craigslist post the boat is currently moored on City Island in the Bronx, but can be docked at marinas in Queens, Brooklyn or Manhattan. Bend quoted the summer docking fee at 79th St. Basin in the Upper West Side for reference: “it would cost $1,550 total to moor it until end of October. So less than $300/month.”

Bend owns and was living aboard the listed sailboat while in New York for work, but maintains permanent residence in a boat across the coast, in Portland, and offers his New York rig up to residents as a kind of open-ended, and free, sublet situation. Hailing originally from Europe, Bend had predictably European (or just straight hippie) ideals about rent.


Hannes Bend would be your occasional first mate.
Hannes Bend would be your occasional first mate. via Inhabitat

“Claiming ownership over parts of the earth, asking others to pay for [it], and territorial behavior, seem absurd to me,” he told Brokelyn. Bend also predicted “Free stays for all soon.”

Doubtful, but we’ll see. For our part, we’re happy to pay a little to live somewhere. So long as it stays clean, and the rent doesn’t suddenly jump up hundreds of dollars. Plus, Trulia’s rent data shows the market rate for a one-bedroom at $2,050/month in Brooklyn. For under $300/month, a little seasickness is worth it. And that number goes down if you decide not to dock anywhere for a while, since floating around on a sailboat is 100 percent free, and according to Bend,”it is legal to anchor at specific places.”

So, presuming you know how to sail, this is a sweet deal. Bend, pictured above, said he would like to “sometimes stay aboard as well” during his occasional visits. One thing’s for sure: there are worse-looking first mates. (Further proof he’s not a serial killer: check out his extensive creative portfolio.)

For all the struggling artists out there, Bend offered that living on his sailboat might provide spiritual perspective on the fact that you’ll never really have your life figured out, anyway.

“The subtle or strong movements aboard are a gentle reminder how in flux life is,” he said.

Anyone interested in renting Bend’s boat can email him at hannesbend[at]

Oh, just one more thing: you’ll have to do a little personal plumbing.

“There is a toilet aboard. The tank needs to get pumped out from time to time. If docked, I prefer to use the marina’s restroom facilities,” Bend said. “Otherwise, nature.”

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