March 5-31: Closet Archaeology + Opening Reception

Closet Archaeology—an Accidental Time Capsule: Monday, March 5-Saturday, March 31

Ace Hotel New York
20 W. 29th St.
New York, NY 10001

A reception for the exhibition will be held on Thursday March 8 from 6-8p.

During the winter of 2015, an East Village fourth grader attending Children’s Workshop School peered into the dusty crevices beneath his classroom’s closet floorboards. He wondered what treasures might have fallen there in the 104 years since the building was constructed. His classmates took notice and joined in, poking and peeking under the boards.

Through this “closet archaeology,” an accidental time capsule —built over a century by generations of students— was excavated for the world to see. Led by their teacher, Miriam Sicherman, these junior archaeologists have unearthed love notes, spelling tests, caps from glass milk bottles, portraits of silent film stars, penny candy wrappers and more. They have evenlocated the former students, now adults, who lost these items across the decades.

The collection was first exhibited in 2017 at The City Reliquary, a not-for-profit museum and civic organization located at 370 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn. Through permanent displays of New York City artifacts, rotating exhibits, and annual cultural events, The City Reliquary connects visitors to both the past and present of New York.

Closet Archaeology will be on display from March 5-31.

March 2: The 11th Annual Panorama Challenge

Panorama Challengers gather around the Panorama
The 11th Annual Panorama Challenge
Friday, March 2: Doors 6 PM, Game 7 PM

Queens Museum
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
General Admission: $15 online/$20 at the door
City Reliquary & Queens Museum members: $12 online/$15 at the door


Once again, The City Reliquary, Queens Museum, & The Levys’ Unique New York! have partnered for an exciting evening of trivia with the whole city at your feet. Meet us at the world’s largest architectural scale model – The Panorama of the City of New York at the Queens Museum – for a most unusual evening of trivia.

Panorama Challenge quizzes players on all things NYC. MC Matt Apter reads questions while our judges highlight clues on the Panorama using lasers (well, laser pointers). Players in teams of 10 (or so) use those clues (and musical hints!) to determine the correct answer.


Quizmaster Jonathan Turer returns for his seventh year with another batch of new questions. This year categories may include: Gotham Gangsters on Film; McKim, Mead & White sites; and questions based on the Grammys, the movie Wonderstruck, and the exhibit Never Built New York at the Queens Museum. The ever-popular Halftime Quiz will also be returning!

How To Form A Team:
Teams may organize as Panorama Challengers or Panorama Pros. Challengers are first‐timers or those who have not dedicated their lives to the study of NYC. Their questions will be easier! Pros are returning contestants and die‐hard students of our city’s hidden corners. They answer twice as many questions per round (60 total!) Friendly tour guides from The Levys’ Unique New York! will help match contestants to teams.

The winning Pro team will join the ranks of legendary past winners when its name is etched on the Panorama Challenge Trophy housed at the Queens Museum!

This year promises another impressive panel of judges–stay tuned for more details!

Reserve Your Team’s Spot Now!

While scores are tallied, there will be an electrifying performance by Batalá New York — an all-woman Afro-Brazilian samba reggae percussion band!




Sandwiches, snacks, and beverages available for purchase, with beer from our friends at the Rockaway Brewing Company. Proceeds from admission and concessions support The City Reliquary Museum and Queens Museum.

A free shuttle will travel between the Queens Museum and under the Mets‐Willets Point 7 stop from 5:30-7 pm and 9-10 pm.

Jan. 27: “Canners” + Q&A with Manfred Kirchheimer

Canners: Saturday, January 27 at 7 PM

Please join us for a screening of Canners (2017), followed by a Q&A with director Manfred Kirchheimer.

This film (run time: 78 min.) presents the men and women who collect New York City’s cans and bottles for redemption. It “delivers a powerful ethical message about what it means to live in a city, and how each of us can choose to acknowledge or ignore our fellow citizens” (A.O. Scott, The New York Times).

Many of Manfred Kirchheimer’s films have addressed overlooked aspects of urban life (Stations of the Elevated; Tall: The American Skyscraper and Louis Sullivan).


Space is limited Get your tickets through Artfully. $7 General/$5 City Reliquary Members

This event is part of the public programming for NYC Trash! Past, Present, & Future.


Jan 20: Private Tour of Nelson Molina’s “Treasures in the Trash” Museum

Update: The January 20 tour is fully booked! Due to popular demand, we have secured a second tour for Saturday, February 10 at 1:30 PM.

On Saturday, January 20, City Reliquary Members will enjoy a private guided tour of Nelson Molina’s Treasures in the TrashMuseum. Space is limited. Become a Member today!

Nelson will guide us through over 50,000 objects acquired in his 30-plus years working for the NYC Department of Sanitation. A curated selection of his findings is part of our current exhibition, NYC Trash! Past, Present, & Future, on view until April 29, 2018.

Join today to participate in this event and for invitations to other exclusive events and parties, discounts on admission to our annual signature events, free museum admission, and more.

Start the new year with Membership. Your support helps The City Reliquary bring the people’s history of New York to all.


Help Us Celebrate Our City in 2018

A message from City Reliquary Founder Dave Herman:

Dear Civic New Yorkers,

Today The City Reliquary is launching its 2017 Year-End campaign. As we close another eventful year, I wanted to reflect on the compelling programs and exhibitions made possible because of Civic New Yorkers like you, and to ask for your support in the coming year.

15316-Statue-of-Liberty-pic5Our staff and volunteers rely on you to help make the Reliquary possible. Joseph Pulitzer’s 1883 “Pedestal Fund” for the Statue of Liberty revealed the powerful result when people of all economic and cultural backgrounds unite towards a common goal. The symbol of our city–and of the American Dream–literally stands on the contributions of the people.

In that spirit, and during this challenging time for small and feisty non-profits, we remind you that even the smallest contribution makes a difference. To this day, the majority of our funding comes through individual gifts under $100. All gifts are tax-deductible.

If you can make a larger gift and wish to do so, consider sponsoring a specific Reliquary initiative: ensure the maintenance of our permanent exhibits, support a signature event or public program, or make possible a special exhibition. You can find more details on our Artfully page.

Thanks to your generosity, our community museum has been For the people, not for profit since 2002. Please help us continue to offer the exhibitions and events that deepen our connection with the great City of New York.

Always Civic,

Dave Herman, Founder
The City Reliquary Museum & Civic Organization

2017 Reliquary Highlights–with your help, 2018 will be an even bigger success! Support The City Reliquary today!

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Exhibitions of Overlooked New York

Our 2017 special exhibition calendar opened with Heroes Of The Knish: Making A Living And Making A Life, which traced the history of the knish from its arrival in the US with Jewish immigrants to its current status as an iconic NYC street food.

Following knishes came Closet Archaeology, one of our most successful exhibitions to date. This exciting show featured over a century’s worth of everyday objects excavated by fourth-grade students from beneath the floorboards of their school building and received a wealth of press coverage, from the New Yorker to the New York Post.

We’ll close out 2017 with NYC Trash! Past, Present, & Future, which considers the history and anthropology of trash in New York from the nineteenth century slums of Manhattan to present-day innovations for reuse and recycle to trash as a cultural archive.

Civic-Minded Events

This was also a banner year for classic City Reliquary events and new annual traditions.

Collectors’ Night, our celebration of collectors and collecting, drew a greater crowd than ever before–triple the average size.

Equally successful was the 2017 Miss Subways Extravaganza This anti-pageant addressed the current deplorable condition of the NYC subway system and raised funds for the Riders Alliance advocacy group. Celebrity judges including Janeane Garofalo and NY1’s own Roger Clark evaluated contestants who embodied the diversity of our city and showcased the unique talents of New York.

We also hosted a brass-band blowout party to herald HONK NYC 2017, and we even marched in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

Thank for you helping us achieve a phenomenal 2017. With your help, 2018 will be an even bigger success. Support The City Reliquary today!

Nov. 12: Opening Reception for NYC Trash! Past, Present, & Future

NYC Trash

Join us for a brunch reception on Sunday, November 12 at noon to celebrate the opening of NYC Trash! Past, Present, & Future.

We will be joined by Council Member Antonio Reynoso, representative for District 34 and Chair of the council’s Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management. Representatives from the Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability of the NYC Dept. of Sanitation will distribute free bags of compost to promote their new curbside Organics Collection program.

$5 admission includes complimentary coffee courtesy of Oslo Coffee Roasters and light refreshments. Brunch cocktails and Brooklyn Brewery beer available by suggested donation.

This exhibition presents the stories behind New York’s solid waste, from “one man’s garbage is another man’s gold” to the inventive ways New Yorkers are reusing and recycling. It traces the trajectory of waste management in New York, from the squalid nineteenth-century tenements documented by Jacob A. Riis, to the Dead Horse Bay landfill and the beginnings of the NYC Department of Sanitation at the turn of the century. It also addresses the mid-century landfill of Fresh Kills on Staten Island and the ecological restoration project currently underway to convert this site into park space.

The exhibition culminates in profiles of seven artists and nonprofits that offer innovative ways of considering waste now and in the future:

  • Mierle Laderman Ukeles, whose work highlights overlooked social aspects of trash disposal. Update: Mierle Laderman Ukeles will attend the Nov. 12 reception for NYC Trash. Unfortunately, her artwork “The Social Mirror” will not be on display at the Reliquary. DSNY has discovered damage to the truck that precludes moving it from its storage facility. Ukeles’s 1983 work The Social Mirror will be on display at the Reliquary for the November 12 opening reception.
  • Larry Racioppo, NYC 2016 Best Unknown Photographer, whose work focuses on the urban landscape. See his recent blog post for the Brooklyn Public Library.
  • Hack:Trash:NYC, aims for zero waste sent to NYC landfills by 2030. Their 2017 hackathon invites creative solutions to waste management.
  • Industrial/Organic, dedicated to converting organic food waste to high-value resources
  • Lower East Side Ecology Center, a nonprofit that collects electronic waste and separates it for reuse and recycling
  • Materials for the Arts, a nonprofit that collects and distributes art supplies and materials to nonprofit organizations with arts programming and public schools
  • RISE Products, creates nutritious ingredients from upcycled organic byproducts, which reduces waste and preserves the environment

The exhibition will also explore the role of trash as cultural archive through objects selected from the Treasure in the Trash collection of Nelson Molina. In his thirty years on the job as a DSNY employee, Molina amassed a monumental collection of ephemera picked from the castoffs of everyday New Yorkers. Read more about his museum in this New York Times article.

NYC Trash! runs from November 2, 2017 to April 29, 2018. A display of trash art by a number of local artists will complement the exhibition and will open in the Reliquary sculpture garden on April 5, 2018.

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This exhibition is generously sponsored by:

Jacquelyn Ottman (author of The New Rules of Green Marketing and founder of
Sims Municipal Recycling

Sun Bear Media

Here She Is, Miss Subways 2017!!

The competition was tough, but our celebrity judges ultimately crowned Lisa Levy as Miss Subways 2017! Lisa impressed judges and spectators alike with a touching monologue on how the subway has been a character in her life. And at 61 years old, she’s proud to be the first post-menopausal Miss Subways. Congratulations, Lisa!

See the moment of coronation! (Warning: includes some NSFW language!)

You can see Lisa’s work as ambassador for the NYC underground on her Instagram account, MissSubways2017!

Join us at Market Hotel to #SaveNYCSpaces!


Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 6:30 PM
Free Entry

The City of New York is getting a Nightlife Mayor! Join us and other creative civic heroes from across the city at MARKET HOTEL to tell the Commissioners who decide: #SaveNYCSpaces!

This artist-led event is the only chance for public input before the Night Mayor is chosen. Cultures that inspire the world are born and grow here in NYC’s diverse grassroots spaces. They should be preserved, not targeted nor forced out of existence by the affordability crisis.

Hosted by Anya Sapozhnikova of House of Yes. Speakers include NYC hip-hop legend Kurtis Blow, and City Reliquary Events Coordinator, Molly Cox!

Oct. 14-15: Open House New York Weekend

2017 Weekend Save-the-Date

Enjoy open access to the Reliquary during Open House New York Weekend! We’re offering free admission to the public on Saturday, October 14 and Sunday, October 15. This is also your last chance to see our current special exhibition, Closet Archaeology!

Oct. 10: HONK NYC Kickoff Party

Photo credit: Alix Piorun

Photo credit: Alix Piorun

No Cover

Music Starts at 8:30pm

HONK NYC 2017 kicks off in our backyard with an evening of brasstastical antics and shenanigans: all-brass Nirvana covers; New Orleans standards; a renegade parade!

HONK NYC is an annual extravaganza of street bands and spectacle. For one fantastic week each October, HONK NYC presents over a dozen free and ticketed performances in schools, clubs, parks, gardens, galleries and other public spaces across metropolitan New York. Fun, revelry, audience participation and inclusion are the hallmarks of HONK NYC events. The festival brings together musicians and performers from around the globe who share a passion and dedication for playing and preserving the grassroots tradition of brass and percussion music. HONK NYC is a spin-off from the decade-strong, Boston-area HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands, the founding fest of a now multi-city network of HONK’s in the U.S., Brazil and Australia.

Featuring performances by NYC ensembles:

The Nevermind Orchestra
The L Train Brass Band
New Creations Brass Band

About The Nevermind Orchestra:

A phrenetic, psycho-jazz-grunge ensemble that reimagines the works of Nirvana through the lens of a modern brass band. Comprised of accomplished NYC musicians who have played with prestigious ensembles ranging from the Metropolitan Opera to the Commodores to Bruce Springsteen, the group has been leading grunge second-line marches on the stages, streets, and subways of the northeast since 2012. All of the classic Nirvana staples as well as some of their lesser-known covers and deep cuts receive a fresh but instantly recognizable overhaul with elements from funk-rock to blues to reggae to bhangra — but each is delivered with the same raw emotion displayed by Kurt, Krist, and Dave back in the day. As Time Out New York touts, “There’s no shortage of Nirvana cover bands floating around, but none are quite like the Nevermind Orchestra.'”

About The L Train Brass Band:
Founded by tubist Ryan Hall and trombonist David Joseph in March 2017, The L Train Brass Band quickly grew from a small, second-line brass band interest group on to a thriving community of nearly 40 contributing members. In June, they won honorable mention for Best Music Group at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. This rotating, ragtag ensemble is excited by the opportunity to play anywhere and everywhere, covering a wide variety of music, from pop and hip-hop to funk and traditional Dixieland jazz to eclectic original charts. No matter where this train ends up, the primary goals are “fun first” and “keeping it weird.”

About New Creations Brass Band:
New Creations Brass Band’s talented crew hail from all parts of New Orleans. Brought together by a shared love of making great new music, they’ve studied, played with, and lived around several greats, like Shannon Powell, Shamarr Allen, and Trombone Shorty, and have worked with several other active second-line brass bands in New Orleans. New Creations brings people together with their groovy, funky music, keeping the brass band style and the music of New Orleans alive as well as making new music of their own and sharing it with the universe!