An innovative Canadian company will be mooring derelict ships and a converted prison barge along the Newtown Creek to serve as senior housing, starting this spring.
The first residence vessel to arrive was the decommissioned FDNY Fireboat John D. McKean, but many clients bid higher for the chance to live aboard NYC’s Vernon C. Bain prison barge even before it’s towed to the creek. “We understand the correctional facility is being phased out over a period of years, to be replaced by neighborhood prisons in College Point and Staten Island. Our clients and prisoners will live side by side during the transition,” said Poseidon’s Pensioners CEO Mackenzie Hauser. So far the cohabitation has gone smoothly, he noted, apart from one melee when the first of several basketball courts aboard the floating prison was repainted for shuffleboard.
“We’re excited to make New York City the Miami of Canada,” Hauser said.
A Canadian Health Ministry spokesperson dismissed medical concerns about the Newtown Creek, which the US Environmental Protection Agency has designated a “Superfund” priority cleanup project because of its toxic stew of heavy metals and petrochemicals. “We worried at first but then saw your health warnings were all focused on children and women of childbearing age. If anything, the absence of screaming kids and loud music is a bonus,” she said. She acknowledged mental health concerns, however, as some residents expressed deep frustration at the lack of a lawn and kids to yell at to get off of it. Poseidon’s Pensioners is contracting with Smiling Hogshead Ranch urban farm to install a grassy deck and Flux Factory for 3D holographic pimply teens to meet that need.
But Newtown Creek is in fact already home to a number of so-called “hipster” artists and scene-crashers who occupy sailboats and a retired ferry. Some object that the elderly Canadians, despite their shared enjoyment of marijuana, might change the carefully curated atmosphere of rebellion. “This is worse than when my mom got on Instagram,” said one.