Share this project


Share this project

No sleep til India! The latest installment of Swimming Cities brings handmade rafting and boating to the New York Harbor and way, way beyond.
No sleep til India! The latest installment of Swimming Cities brings handmade rafting and boating to the New York Harbor and way, way beyond.
111 backers pledged $6,000 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates

Death Pong, MakeZine, and More!

A HUGE thank you to everybody who donated and supported our KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN so far!! We're in the final hours and with 101 backers, we are only $435 away from our goal! Thanks to all 101! Please help us make the last hours count and push past our goal!

For new and old friends, check out the Make zine blog post by Nick Normal, On the Gowanus We are Swimming Cities:
"New York City is a city of islands (save the Bronx, which is attached to the mainland), and as such, we are surrounded by water and can only access the boroughs via bridges and tunnels. But for a city of islands, the waterways are not interacted with on a usual basis. Subways that magically appear inside the boundary of each borough are the primary form of transport, and even visits to area beaches are very specific and localized. A large portion of the water surrounding the city — in its rivers and docks — ebbs and flows without awareness.
Swimming Cities seeks to change all of that, both in the Gowanus and on the Ganges, with their art-experiential boats and projects.

And Thanks To the Death Pongers!
For all of you who could make it to our Last Outdoor Ping Pong Death Match BBQ of the Summer this past weekend - that was an awesome BBQ! Thanks! Serious ping pong magic happened the other night, videos to come. We raised $550 on Sunday, all of which will buy us six very important cans of bottom paint for the boat hulls! Those three boats stacked in the shop are just waiting for the order to come in.

In celebration (or bail-out) of our Kickstarter campaign, we are preparing a dance party next Saturday, Oct 23 (1089 Broadway, corner of Dodworth, $5 cover, $2 PBRs). And Pinatas by Llaves Design! Come! And better, yet, if you donate at the $50 level on our Kickstarter, you can get entry for two + two drinks each to this event, PLUS a bonus entry for 2 guests + PBR each. Yea!

Contact us at our new Google Voice number (917) 740-0863, or send us an e-mail to You can also e-mail us to join our mailing list and receive our events newsletters. Thanks!

  • Image 20203 original
  • Image 20204 original

The Last Outdoor Ping Pong Death Match BBQ of the Summer!

We are welding hinges onto the bow pieces at Serret in preparation for assembling the radial for the first time. Meanwhile, the hulls are being de-barnacled, patched, and readied for paint. If you can wield a paintbrush or grinder and want to help, take photos, or just get a sneak preview, please call our crew at 917-740-0863. Or if you'd rather skip the work and just come and play, join us tomorrow at:

The Last Outdoor Ping Pong Death Match BBQ of the Summer!

This Sunday, the Bushwick Ping Pong Palace presents two outdoor pong tables, multiple games, all levels welcome, CASH PRIZE for tournament winners! Party to benefit Swimming Cities India raft project ( starts SUNDAY October 17th at 2pm at 11 Locust St, Bushwick. No cover, dress in your ping pong BBQ best. Crazy Jackass pulled pork sandwiches, $2 PBRs, margarita tornado, film screening, DJ, indoor/outdoor seating, SUNNY skies predicted! Come catch your final rays before the Darkness settles.

Sunday, October 17th
2pm on...
Bushwick Ping Pong Palace
11 Locust Street, Apt #1B
Brooklyn, NY 11206
JMZ Myrtle stop. L Morgan stop. G train to Broadway.

  • Image 19951 original
  • Image 19952 original
  • Image 19953 original

live from the gowanus canal...

we are removing malignant marine life from our boats at serett metalworks! barnacles, tube worms, and the gowanus canal are actually eating away at our stainless steel pontoons! incredible!

if you are in the brooklyn area and would like to visit our build site, call 917-740-0863 to find out our schedule. we work here more days than we don't, so you are likely to find us here, right by the smith & 9th st stop. you can come hang out, paint, take pictures, share cake, and see our boats in progress (almost there!)

also - we are almost halfway there!! with only 8 days to go...if you have already donated, we thank you, and ask one more little thing - can you please send this link to five like-minded friends? It would help us bigtime...

swimming cities

p.s. superfund superfun!

  • Image 19665 original

in someone else's words

What Jerry Saltz (the big-deal art critic for New York magazine) had to say about Swimming Cities appearing at the Venice Bienniale:

"The most moving moment I had at the Biennale, however, came in the last minutes of my last day at the show. Just before closing time, as guards herded stragglers toward the entrance from the far end of the Arsenal where I was, three marvelous-looking vessels cobbled together from urban detritus motored past Mike Boucher’s wonderful sunken suburban house, and into the small lagoon. A band played a haunting song, a woman sang, a girl swung on a swing. The boats are the work of the artist Swoon. I’m told that Swoon wasn’t even invited to the show. She and her gypsy friends simply entered of their own accord and did what they wanted to do. Like the best work here, Swoon’s work doesn’t come out of academic critique; it comes from necessity and vision. These are the perfect tools for making things as old as time new again -- including an art world turned dangerously into itself."

Yes! Yes! Thank you Mr. Saltz.

fish in water

Last weekend we repaired and painted the boat bases, and then lowered Cattywhompus the fish chariot into the Gowanus to take an eco-friendly (read: paddle-powered) spin up to visit our friends at Jerko the Water Vacuum (a houseboat which Adam Katzman is modifying to be fully self-sustaining) and the dories of Mare Liberum.

We had to call the bridge operators to come raise the 3rd Street bridge for us! With the tide, we were just a few inches too high. It made for some hilarious phone exchanges with 311 - "yes, we have a giant fish made of chickenwire and foil, which needs to go under the bridge. Yes, we are in the canal right now."

It was a whole weekend of boating around Gowanus on the last nice day ever, maybe. Pretty soon we'll have to pull our fur coats out...

But we are plotting a whole season of art boating next summer with the help of the Flux Factory and exciting collaborators, including Duke Riley and folks from the Waterpod and the LIC Boathouse, Metropolitan Water Alliance and more.

Thanks so much for all the donations so far. We're hoping to raise the whole nut so our project can continue to have a home and finish building through the winter, as well as afford shipping. If you know of anyone who would get a kick out of what we are doing - please help spread the word!!

thanks to Stephan von Muehlen for the photos.

  • Image 18882 original
  • Image 18883 original
  • Image 18884 original