Boat mystery solved!

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Ship Ahoy, Captain, dead ahead on Dean Street!

Neighbors of a Dean Street artists “commune” have wondered about a 22-foot wooden craft that looks like it washed up from somewhere (the Gowanus, perhaps?).

“Somebody thought it was a seafood shack,” said Katie Merz, one of the artists who lives in the building at 214 Dean St.

It turns out, there’s a simple answer: It’s a shipwreck from Korean Vogue.

The boat was built by Jason Gandy, who constructed it for a photo shoot in the magazine. After the shoot at Chelsea Piers, Gandy dry-docked it in front of the building.

The boat is not sea-worthy, of course, but it is eye-catching. And that’s the idea. The commune used it to attract attention to its recent art show.

About 120 people attended the show, which included live music and performances, photographs and paintings, and, of course, the beached ship on the front stoop’s stern.

You might expect building owners Nick and Gabriele Fracaro to bunk down in the boat, given that they once lived for three years in a teepee in a homeless shantytown near the Manhattan Bridge. But this houseboat is just a piece of sculpture.

Gandy is happy to have the boat still in one piece. “When you build something for a set, it usually goes in the garbage the next day. But I really put my heart into that boat, and I like having it live on. I’m just happy they haven’t called me to take it apart yet.”

There are no immediate plans to decommission this ship.

“We’re just waiting for Landmarks to get crabby,” joked Merz.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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