Photo: Damon Winter / The New York Times
Duke Riley, a heavily tattooed Brooklyn artist, was arrested after his homemade submarine that looked like an 18th century Bushnell Turtle drifted near the restricted waters near the
QE2 Queen Mary 2 ship.
Mr. Riley built his eight-foot-tall submersible not from oak but from cheap plywood, coated with fiberglass and topped off with portholes and a hatch bought from a marine salvage company. Pumps in the bottom allowed him to add water for ballast or remove it.
On Thursday evening, he and the two friends, Jesse Bushnell and Mike Cushing, scrambled around in the murky Red Hook water — avoiding the occasional condom or dead rat — to make sure that the sub, called the Acorn, was seaworthy and would submerge. (It never did so completely.) They had loaded several thousand pounds of lead into the bottom and were adding rocks to further lower the moss-coated vessel, which resembled something out of Jules Verne by way of Huck Finn, manned by cast members from “Jackass.”