Camping isn't necessarily a summertime activity that one associates with NYC, unless you're talking about waiting it out in line for tickets to Shakespeare in the Park. In Central Park. With coffee and your iPad and food carts within yelling distance. But thanks to Brooklyn artist Thomas Stevenson, camping in the city is becoming a little more attainable (err... by New York standards at least).
Stevenson's Bivouac New York is an art project/temporary rooftop encampment where guests sleep in seven custom-made lean-to shelters atop a secret building of Stevenson's choosing. The camp also includes a family-sized canteen, a picnic table for communal dining, a real toilet and, in case you're prone to going stir crazy very quickly, a small library of books. Things that aren't included at camp? Electricity, internet and showers. "It's all about disconnecting and meeting people," says Stevenson. (Nothing turns strangers into friends faster than a mutual case of bed head.)
To participate, all you do is sign up and confirm a tent, and you'll be told where to report to day-of by text or email. Once you finish your regular work day, you'll retire to said rooftop for a night of urban adventuring with up to 13 other campers (tents can hold two people). The next morning you'll descend once again to the streets of civilization and carry on with your normal routine.
So, what exactly is the goal of this interactive art piece? Stevenson says he simply wanted to get people to forget about their otherwise hectic urban lives. So far this summer, he's secured rooftops mostly in Williamsburg and Bushwick, but his main criterium for camp sites is finding a clear view of Manhattan, so "you feel like you're on a mountain and looking at the next place you're going to."
Camping nights have been taking place all summer, but it's just been announced that there will be upcoming dates in August, and tentatively for early October. Check back on Bivouac's site for the announcement of actual dates.