Partners Joel Beck and Ute Zimmermann
If there was a Museum of the Gowanus, the newly opened Gowanus Souvenir Shop on Nevins Street, would certainly be worthy of calling itself its gift store
The shop offers a wonderful mix of quirky souvenirs, decorative items made by local craftspeople, and works by Gowanus artists. Displayed throughout are historic Gowanus artifacts, maps and books related to the canal.
The inspiration for the store came to owners Joel Beck and Ute Zimmerman after visited small town museum shops during a recent trip down the East Coast. Why not apply the idea to the Gowanus Canal and pay tribute to its "mystifying and troubling yet often humorous and darkly fascinating history?"
Indeed, many of the souvenirs in the shop reflect a sense of humor. One has to love the glass bottles marked 'emboli', 'petrol' or 'arsenic', or the coffee cups ripping 'some asshole developer'
Certainly the setting for the store could not be more reflective of Gowanus' past. Housed steps away from the canal in the space occupied by the former Proteus Gowanus at the historic former Old Box Factory, it is accessible through a long, narrow alleyway with overhanging fire escapes on Nevins Street.
"The lure of the Gowanus Canal is very interesting,' Beck told me on a recent visit. "It is outlandishly popular for a sewer." Indeed.
So whether tourist or local resident, you will want to stop by and check out the Gowanus Souvenir Shop. Beck and Zimmerman will be hosting a Grand Opening Party for the shop this Friday, November 20, from 3 to 8 pm. So mark your calendar and check out the souvenir shop.
543 Union Street
Entrance on Nevins Street, down the alleyway
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Thursday–Friday: 3–7 pm
Saturday–Sunday: 11–7 pm