Wednesday, July 29, 2009

South Brooklyn Casket Co.

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.


Anonymous said...

Would you say that at the end of New York, all that will be left is the South Brooklyn Casket Co?

EV Grieve said...

I need to stop thinking that I'm going to get to the end of the post only to read something like, "And sadly, the South Brooklyn Casket Company is closing to make way for the Gowanus location of Permanent Brunch, where the bacon bar will be set up on a cache of caskets."

Agent99 said...

Hahaha, EV Grieve, I was expecting the same.. it is the whole theme of Jeremiah's blog though. We are well within our rights to assume.

Melanie said...

The South Brooklyn Casket Co. has been there forever!!I believe it is on Union Street below 5th Avenue--I remember seeing it frequently while driving up Union Street with my Dad. Glad they are around--they are necessary!!

BrooksNYC said...

Great find.

Followed your link to Kertess's book on Amazon, and was inspired by Kirkus Reviews' summary of one story, "Footnotes":

"....citations to an unprinted libretto that apparently involves the Olympics, flute playing, Greek wrestling, Hart Crane, space exploration, and the Stations of the Cross."

There you have it — six essential ingredients for a well-rounded life.

If I weren't broke, I'd be all over those South Brooklyn Casket Company tee-shirts!

Anonymous said...

I grew up on Marcy Ave, between Middleton and Lynch Sts. in Williamsburg. Brooklyn,n.y.
Next to the playground on Lynch St. was The Brooklyn Casket Company, a low dark red brick building.
When I went through a phase trying to understand death, I literally had nightmares about that building. Why they had a playground there, I could never understand. It was the only playground in our area.(1940's- 1950's)