Brooklyn couple gets engaged on Gowanus Canal


They found love in the muck.

Despite its notorious reputation for being a polluted pool of stagnant filth, the Gowanus Canal was recently the site of a marriage proposal — and she said yes.

Gowanus residents Emma Borochoff, 30, and Jamison Pence, 32, have been dating for three-and-a-half years, lived in the neighborhood for two, and frequently go on walks over the Superfund-designated waterway’s bridges, a pleasure they’ve been enjoying even more frequently in quarantine. Inspired by their jaunts, and wanting to have his friends present in a COVID-safe way during the big moment, Pence had the idea to get down and dirty with his proposal on the canal itself.

“Last summer, we did a canal crawl, and that’s what prompted the engagement — we wanted to do another canal crawl this year, but because of the pandemic, we made it a small crawl,” Pence, a sales manager, told The Post. On the August afternoon the couple was slated to go bar-hopping along the canal on foot with their buddies, he told Borochoff at the last minute that he’d scheduled a canoe ride first.

“I was like, ‘Oh, great! But we’re going to be late,’ ” said Borochoff, who is also in marketing. (The couple began as an office romance.) “I had no idea.”

Pence borrowed a canoe from the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club and waited until they had paddled to the Carroll Street Bridge, where their friends suddenly appeared.

“Everyone came out of nowhere on the bridge, and I just thought they were superpumped we were canoeing,” said Borochoff. “Then they were all yelling for me to turn around.”

“I think the hard part was reaching for the ring,” said Pence of his experience climbing towards Borochoff’s end of the canoe. “And making sure I held onto that with a death grip while still moseying my way to the front.”

Inspired by the proposal, the partners in slime plan to have a camp-themed wedding in their native Maryland, with canoeing for sure on the itinerary.

The couple are currently in Aruba, on an “engagementmoon” they had planned well before the proposal. Despite the country’s crystal-clear Caribbean waters, though, they still yearn for the iridescent waters of their engagement site.

“You don’t have that nice rainbow sheen the Gowanus has,” said Borochoff.

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