Sections

In Williamsburg, weekends spent ‘camping’ on rooftops (with a fake campfire)

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Who needs the Catskills when you can camp out under the stars on a Brooklyn rowhouse?

A Williamsburg artist has been hosting secret rooftop camp-outs for the past two months, giving Brooklyn’s urban denizens the chance to sleep with nothing but the sky as their ceiling, claiming its a great way to get people together to safely experience the great … well, the outdoors.

“It’s about people communing together in a space for comfort and security,” said Thomas Stevenson, who calls his project “Bivouac,” a name that references temporary campsites used by soldiers or mountaineers.

Stevenson schedules guests to come to one of his secret campsites around Williamsburg and Bushwick for one night. They can bring a friend or come alone, but either way, they will be thrown in with about 10 to 16 other campers. They are expected to turn off their cell phones and disconnect from the rest of the world as much as possible.

The tents are all custom-made by Stevenson in the style of old fashioned lean-tos. The fabric around them is golden, which he said he modeled after World War II-era camps.

“They look like a product, but not a product of this century,” said Stevenson.

Stevenson allows campers to write graffiti on the tents just the way some might have done in summer camp, so the tents are covered with proclamations including “Helena was here,” “Julia was here” and “Ariel was here” (apparently, the men at Camp Bivouac are not as into graffiti as the women).

There is even a campfire — well, not really, but there is a glowing light that approximates a campfire.

Stevenson has been holding the camp-outs several weekends this summer, and did some last summer as well.

Some campers say the flashlight-lit adventures are a great way to meet people.

“Talking to people in a dark tent is a very different kind of experience than we’re used to in New York,” said Catacutan.

Stevenson will host at least three more weekends this summer on Brooklyn rooftops. In addition, he will also host Bivouac in London and Boston this year.

Visit www.bivouacnyc.com for more information on how to sign up for a camping night.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 10:13 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reasonable discourse

o3 from bk says:
restrooms ?
July 24, 2013, 6:55 am
Swampyankee from Ruined Brooklyn says:
Just a quick reminder that you can report potential fire safety violations to the FDNY through their web site or just by calling 311
July 24, 2013, 7:15 am
ty from pps says:
Swampdouche... What fire safety violation are you referring to? Or is it that you just don't like people having fun and enjoying the company of others?
July 24, 2013, 7:35 am
ty from pps says:
I am actually more concerned that the building owner hasn't painted that rooftop silver -- Seriously, what is wrong with people? This is a VERY simple and cheap way to reduce NYC's carbon footprint -- there were even city grants at one point.

But alas this is the usual sad economic truth... the landlord doesn't pay the electric bill for the tenant's A/Cs... so why spend a 'crippling' $500 to reduce the building's temperature when it doesn't save *you* anything? Ya know, other than reducing potential brownouts and other electric system failures.
July 24, 2013, 7:44 am
ty from pps says:
It's as simple as slapping on this stuff...
http://www.lowes.com/pd_12035-29-5175-A-30_0__
July 24, 2013, 7:46 am
Swampyankee from Ruined Brooklyn says:
What are the tents made of? If it burns, it's a violation. I am opposed to firefighters getting hurt putting out a needless rooftop fire. Happens more often then you think. Usually it's idiots putting wooden pallets on the roof for their gardens Had a pretty big fire in TriBeCa last because of that. What's the harm in letting the experts inspect it? Maybe the camper has already taken care of the inspection. It's all fun and games until play time burns a building down right Ty?
July 24, 2013, 7:50 am
Swampyankee from Ruined Brooklyn says:
What are the tents made of? If it burns, it's a violation. I am opposed to firefighters getting hurt putting out a needless rooftop fire. Happens more often then you think. Usually it's idiots putting wooden pallets on the roof for their gardens Had a pretty big fire in TriBeCa last because of that. What's the harm in letting the experts inspect it? Maybe the camper has already taken care of the inspection. It's all fun and games until play time burns a building down right Ty?
July 24, 2013, 7:51 am
ty from pps says:
Oh really... "Usually it's idiots putting wooden pallets on the roof for their gardens"

That's the *cause* of the fire? You're telling me that wood isn't allowed on a roof? I have a couple of friends with WOODEN roof decks... brand new... inspected... all wood... These are going to spontaneously combust? I wonder if the FDNY knows about this secret characteristic of spontaneously combustible wood?!

Or is wood only a serious danger when Swampdouche doesn't approve of its use?
July 24, 2013, 8:48 am
Homey from Crooklyn says:
"Stevenson allows campers to wrote graffiti on the tents ..." duh
July 24, 2013, 8:54 am
diehipster from Beating Brents says:
It's just to damn easy. Hahahaha. There is no age limit with these perpetual kidults. Look at this red beard - he's already a gray beard and still playing like a boy in camp. Why dont these interlopers just do these rural activities back in their rural towns?

Looooook at meeeee! I can build a tent and sit around a flashlight! And I'm doing it Brooooooklyn - on a rooftop!!
July 24, 2013, 9:52 am
JAZ from Hunting Redbeards says:
these stories just write themselves at this point. Gray beard is the new Red beard in the whimsical, zany artisanal playpen of Bushpointburg

ty - I like how you are so concerned with 'carbon footprints' one moment, and then are lamenting the absence of an A/C unit the next.
July 24, 2013, 10:20 am
Northside Ned from GPT says:
Gotta go with Jerome on this one. This is retarded. Maybe if it where 9 year olds it would be cute.
July 24, 2013, 10:24 am
ty from pps says:
Jaz -- WHAT? The silver roof paint reduces the need for A/C. It cools the building's overall temperature. How is this a difficult concept?

I'm not "lamenting" anything about A/Cs. You're just an idiot.
July 24, 2013, 10:40 am
ty from pps says:
There is the OBVIOUS question, of course... How, exactly, does the rooftop camping activities of a few dozen people (out of 8.5 million) harm you in any way? Are they on your roof? Are they forcing your to camp with them?

Hmm...

I would even suggest not clicking on the article, since these sorts of stories seem to cause you great psychological hardship. If you hadn't read this, you wouldn't even have known it was taking place.... but now that you know about it, it's destroying the very fabric of society you hold so dear.

Kinda pathetic, no?
July 24, 2013, 11:04 am
Pat I. from Brooklyn says:
Project Bivouac. Nice. They've already tainted "curate", "artisanal" , "awareness" and "organic".

Might as well flush "bivouac" and "project" down the locally sourced sh*tter as well.

Show of hands: How many of us spent nights on the roofs of our houses in the summer without the need for a collective or art project?

Didn't the Drifters write a s ong about it?
July 24, 2013, 11:36 am
Shut up Ty, you stupid beatch from 11249 says:
Here's the harm, Ty the oblivious dick weasel. This ridiculousness raises the bar for other Try Hard morons to do more of the same and it does have an effect on Brooklynites. We don't want your kind of special influencing the perception of others about real Brooklyn. These articles are advertising some false sense of welcoming in the community for these Douchebraggarts. We don't want any more of them. It doesn't deserve an ounce of attention, so when it does we are going to point it out, and laugh, and make fun. What can't you get about that?
And yes, Pat I., you are correct. Many New Yorkers that have lived in a building where the basement was locked up, and if you blew a fuse because of your air conditioner you slept on a roof or fire escape. You don't remember it making the news? Me neither.
July 24, 2013, 11:57 am
"Interloper" from Kent Ave says:
Let's just burn down the co-op that diehipster, Swampyankee, JAZ and "Shut up Ty, you stupid beatch" all live in and roast s'mores. That'd be a lot more fun.
July 24, 2013, 1:01 pm
Elvis from Nawcostella says:
This seems pretty retarded to me, too. But as long as they aren't pissing on my head who gives a ——
July 24, 2013, 1:20 pm
Rosie from Cobble hill says:
Gotta love Brooklyn roof tops. I'll climb that skinny metal ladder up anytime
July 24, 2013, 1:47 pm
diehipster from Beating Off Brents says:
I love camping with young boys. We play hide and seek in my pants when it's dark out.
July 24, 2013, 2:38 pm
diehipster from Beating Off Brents says:
I love camping because i like to see how many tent pegs i can fit up my anus and into my urethra.
July 24, 2013, 2:39 pm
diehipster from Beating Off Brents says:
I hang out in campgrounds upstate a lot. I hide out in the porta-potties (inside the poo tank) and wait for the brown shower. Usually by end of summer, i have a beautiful blue glow to my skin. The downside is that I start to stink like mother's tit mung. Blech!
July 24, 2013, 2:42 pm
The Chooch from rocking your moronic mook world says:
HA HA HA HA HA. I got news for you mooks. You don't own Brooklyn. We do. These stories don't "advertise" any "false sense" of anything. They •announce• the future of hipster Brooklyn. Your opinions are irrelevant.
July 24, 2013, 3:17 pm
The Chooch from the bohemian barrio says:
What you think makes no difference. This story is nothing yet. We've had a half dozen hipsters on rooftop stories. All it means is that they're casing the joint. Next we'll have domes, solar panels, more farms. Not a thing you can do about it.
July 24, 2013, 3:20 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
Camping on the roof? OK, good for them. You can also camp for real at Floyd Bennett Field without leaving the city. The Q35 bus takes you right there:

http://www.nps.gov/gate/planyourvisit/camp-at-fbf.htm

Really, once you're there it's easy to forget you're in the middle of New York City. YMMV
July 24, 2013, 4:29 pm
dot from dashdash says:
Let's hope there are no sleepwalkers up there!
July 25, 2013, 2 pm
Jonny from Buskwick says:
Why are Williamsburg yuppies so obsessed with faking real experiences?
July 26, 2013, 11:33 am
GIGI from 195 Roebling Street says:
I do not know what these white folks think , we brooklinites back in the day sun bath on top of the roof, created tents in the fire escape and had lots of fun, They coming in here like this is new it is so old school like Williamsburg itself
July 30, 2013, 2:36 pm
The Chooch from Choochinello's Artisanal Rooftop Pizzeria says:
You have a point, GIGI. Brooklynites have always camped on rooftops. Christ, HIPSTERS were camping on rooftops in Brooklyn 30 years ago. Look, I don't know why this paper makes news out of someone making bean soup or camping on a rooftop. But they do, and we read it, and we even comment on it. So is really not news just because it wasn't written about in the past.
July 31, 2013, 2:38 am
Maria S from Greenpoint says:
OMG! These people are idiots. You can meet peopel other ways. Just goes to show that hipsters don't have an ounce of brain in their heads. Go get a real job.
July 31, 2013, 3:07 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: