There's something about the South Brooklyn Casket Company. Maybe its the name, the startling word "casket" right out there in the open as you walk along Third Avenue in Gowanus. Maybe it's the fact that you can see right into the warehouse, to its cache of caskets, all gleaming silver and polished wood, waiting to be filled with, let's face it, your future.
The company was founded in 1931 by Thomas Pontone and was more recently acquired by the larger Milso Industries, which is the name on the trucks you will see carrying the coffins out of the low brick buildings in Gowanus and to their customers. But the buildings haven't changed, they're still ramshackle and a bit ominous. You might find yourself lingering there, watching the boxes come out in bunches, and wondering who will lie inside them.
A few years ago, the Times wrote about how the coffin company has inspired writing and art, including a video that appears to have nothing to do with South Brooklyn Casket, and a book filled with stories that Kirkus called, "Mostly about homosexual desire, narcissism, and the fear of physical decay."
If you're so inclined, you can buy t-shirts here.