Written by David Katz Wednesday, 03 July 2013 00:00
Ahoy, ye land-lubber!!! Come aboard me ship but watch ye step, there’s a Kraken lurkin’ below n’ she be famished.
This was the welcome I was hoping for as I walked through the gates of Haven Marina at the Bay. However, as I would soon find out, the tenants of Port Washington’s houseboat community don’t spend their days terrorizing the Long Island Sound, plundering sailboats and evading the Coast Guard in search of buried treasure.
On the contrary, they couldn’t be more ordinary. The community is comprised of 40 houseboats in all, 16 inhabited year-round and the rest lodged seasonally. Of the year-round residents, there’s a doctor, a lawyer, a few shopkeepers and their families, a couple of marina maintenance workers, and the dock master, Nick Cyprus.
Cyprus, who hasn’t lived in a house that sits upon solid ground in over 30 years, is the unofficial houseboat expert, savvy on everything from thru hull fittings to piling poles. As dock master, Cyprus is essentially the landlord of the marina. He is responsible for the upkeep of the dock’s facilities in addition to handling the day-to-day problems of his tenants. And when your house is literally in deep water, you’re liable to encounter more than a few difficulties.
A houseboat’s biggest foe is the capricious Mother Nature. Even slight storms disrupt a houseboat’s very foundation. Rough waters can throw the vessels about, causing major damage to the interior of the house and destroying possessions that aren’t bolted down. In extreme weather, hurricanes can break windows, drag a houseboat out to sea, and capsize these vessels completely. During Hurricane Sandy, Cyprus tore multiple ligaments in his arm reeling in a houseboat that was ripped off the marina and taken out to sea.
Yet living in a houseboat isn’t all runaway houses and torn ligaments. Once you’ve got your sea legs, you’re free to explore the ocean from the comfort of your own home (if your boat has an engine). You also have access to a backyard swimming pool that doubles as a fishing post. And at the end of the day, you can sit aboard your deck while watching the sunset make a crimson and gold canvas of the expanse of ocean laid out in front of you. The backdrop is so beautiful that USA’s Royal Pains has shot several scenes in Haven Marina at the Bay, the most recent of which took place early last week.
In addition to the picturesque backdrop and water-related perks, a houseboat can be an economical alternative to the traditional, non-floating home. The boats themselves cost anywhere from $125,000 to $250,000 unfurnished, a marina pass ranges from $200-$1000/month (depending on location), and utilities total at around $950/month, according to Cyprus.
Life on the sea also has its benefits socially. Owning one of these homes and living on the marina fosters a very close-knit community among the houseboat tenants due to the unique circumstances that each of the tenants lives with on a daily basis. "You do what you have to do," says Cyprus, "You have to watch out for the guy next to you and you know he’ll do the same for you."
"Overall, it’s pretty relaxing," Cyprus continues, "You get your hands dirty once in a while, but if you love the water and you know what you’re doing, there’s nothing better."
It may be a far cry from Jack Sparrow and Barba Rossa, but I know there are more than a few envious landlubbers out there.
Friday, 01 November 2013 00:00
Gould A. ‘Stretch’ Ryder III, accomplished sailor, pilot, businessman, civic leader, and steward of the beautiful waterfront of Port Washington, passed away Oct. 24 at The Amsterdam at Harborside Hospice Center in Port Washington.
Stretch, as he was known to all, was well known as part of the crew on Ted Turner’s “Courageous” when it won the America’s Cup in 1977. Turner stayed in touch and visited Stretch last week.
Stretch’s life was marked by numerous personal contributions and accomplishments.
Thursday, 31 October 2013 00:00
Parents concerned about classroom sizes spoke up at the Port Washington Board of Education meeting, as the board passed an approval of the larger sizes.
Parents spoke of class sizes at the district’s elementary being in the mid 20s, an amount they felt compromised the quality of their children’s education.
“The board of education changed our children’s education for the worse,” said one mother of larger average class sizes the board had approved last year. The comment drew clapping from the audience.
Thursday, 17 October 2013 00:00
The Port Washington Soccer Club has presented Schreiber High School graduate and captain of the Port Washington Blue Knights, Cameron Boroumand, with the annual $1,000 Joe Cohen Scholarship.
The award, which has been presented annually for over 10 years, was established by the Port Washington Soccer Club to honor Joseph Cohen, a gifted athlete who attended college on a soccer scholarship. He went on to achieve outstanding success, first academically, and then in his professional life. He gave his time fully and with great heart to innumerable charitable endeavors.
Thursday, 17 October 2013 00:00
The tough and talented Port Washington volleyball team defeated Hicksville at an away game this past Friday in all three sets.
With strong returning players who also play on club teams year round, the Port Washington team plays with a certain level of chemistry. Megan Murphy and Kelly Nardone led the way with 12 assists and Mia Walker had six kills.