Sat-Sun, noon-6pm and by appointment; Mon-Fri, by appointment only
G, L at Metropolitan Ave.-Lorimer St.
Free; donations welcome
Williamsburg’s City Reliquary shines a light on historic New York while acting as a meet-up spot for collectors. Founded by Dave Herman, the idiosyncratic museum first began as displays of New York ephemera—baseball cards, subway tokens, a collection of souvenir Statues of Liberty—in the windows of Herman’s apartment. He’d also display collections on loan from local residents, and by 2006, Herman and his volunteers had enough pieces to move the nonprofit to its current location on Metropolitan Avenue. The stuffed space is a Joseph Cornell box realized: One cabinet displays memorabilia from the 1939 World’s Fair, while another has a collection of “Brooklyn Seltzer Bottles.” Scattered in cases and on walls throughout the two-room storefront space, there’s a blue MetroCard from 1994, peep-show tokens, bedrock-core samples, and an old 2nd Ave. Deli sign. Herman’s Statues of Liberty are there, too, in their own mahogany display case, alongside a Snapple cap with statue facts. (Did you know the statue was the first electrically powered lighthouse in the world?)Display Your Own Collection
In the spirit of Herman’s original window displays, part of the museum is dedicated to community collections of quirky things like jumbo pencils or vintage thermoses. If you have a collection you’d like to display, you can contact the museum to set it up. And don’t worry—it doesn’t have to be New York–centric because, according to Herman, if you’re a New Yorker, your stuff is bound to be interesting.