At the moment there are 13 Getaway houses outside New York, all in the Catskills, but Mr. Staff is working on expanding. Last summer, Getaway took part in a pilot project at Staten Island’s Fort Wadsworth, setting up three houses that were all booked.
The National Park Service, which runs Fort Wadsworth, said it is expanding the offerings for campers to try to appeal to all kinds of visitors. The tiny Getaway houses were set up on USS North Carolina Road, at the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, amid black locust trees, with beach access and a view of the harbor.
Offerings this coming summer might include tiny houses again, tents or glamping, said Emina Sendich, deputy superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area. “The public doesn’t realize what a gem this place is,” she said. On a recent visit, humans were joined by a possum, a woodpecker, deer and a woodchuck.
“I’ve spent the night down here and you really do feel like you’re out there and you’re camping,” she said. “You’ve got the campfire going. You’re barbecuing. You’ve got your family with you.”
Fort Wadsworth is part of Gateway National Park, which also includes Fort Tilden, as well as Sandy Hook in New Jersey and Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. Camping has been permitted at Fort Wadsworth since 2012, and regular campsites can be reserved for $30 a night. They attract international tourists looking for affordable travel options as well as first-time campers who grew up in New York City.
“We get lots of local people camping,” said Brian Feeney, the park’s Staten Island unit manager. “One woman said to me, ‘It’s my first time, so if it doesn’t work out I’m going home tonight.’” He smiled and shrugged, staring out at New York Harbor, the skyline in the distance. “You can’t do that at Yosemite.”