Turns out the submarine discovered in the harbor Friday afternoon was an art project. Of course it was.
Police arrested Philip “Duke” Riley and two men from Rhode Island for piloting a replica of a 1776 “Turtle submarine” in restricted waters near the Queen Mary 2. Riley, a 35-year-old graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and Pratt Institute, was cited by the Coast Guard for a number of violations. Charges from the NYPD are still pending.
In June of 2006 Riley made a “bar” entirely from found objects on Plum Beach. ”I just wanted to do a project that was fun, somewhere between art and an excuse just to get a bunch of people together to get drunk out in the middle of nowhere,” Riley told the New York Times.
The Voice profiled him in May 2006.
According to Duke Riley, “Crappy weather just makes things interesting.” An intense, brusque 33-year-old with a rough-hewn Boston accent and workingman’s gait, Riley has a fierce proclivity for margins, whether that means marginal characters, landscapes, societies, vocations, or weather, and he is considered something of a madman.
In the summer of 2004, during the heightened security of the Republican National Convention, Riley drank a gut-full of rum and rowed out to Belmont Island, a pile of scrub situated across from the United Nations, where he climbed Tower 17 and unfurled a 21-foot-long red flag depicting two electric eels.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 3, 2007