News

Celebrate our New Mural on Saturday, June 29

Mural painting of a swan surrounded by swirling flowers
A preview of the mural by Joaquin Torres Zavaleta

Mural Unveiling Party With Live Music! 1:00-4:00 p.m.!

The City Reliquary Museum is home to New York’s many histories, the multiple, interweaving narratives that make up this city we call home. This summer we are partnering with Argentinian artist Joaquin Torres Zavaleta to create a mural in our backyard, celebrating some of the NYC plants and birds that came from other countries. As these species made their homes here they transformed the urban environment. Some even became local icons, like the ever-present pigeon. Joaquin’s mural asks us to think about migration, settlement, and the ways that cultural exchange is embedded in our cityscapes. We are excited to welcome these birds to our backyard and to highlight how immigration continues to enrich and strengthen our city.

We’ll be celebrating the completion of the new mural with a party on Saturday, June 29! Join us for live music by Julian Harris (who also directed this great video of Joaquin’s work) and Sami y Sarah, and hear from Joaquin about his research and influences.

Many thanks to Residency Unlimited for connecting us with Joaquin and providing refreshments for Saturday’s party!

Collectors’ Night 2019!

"Collectors" spelled out using different vintage objects.

RESCHEDULED! Now to be held Saturday, September 7, 2019 6:00-9:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the link!

At Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 275 N. 8th Street, Williamsburgh, Brooklyn, NY

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the 14th Annual Collector’s Night has been postponed from its original date, and will not be held on Sunday, July 14 as originally scheduled. All purchased tickets will be refunded in full via Eventbrite. We sincerely apologize, especially to any of you who had made travel plans or given up other happenings this weekend.

However, we have rescheduled Collectors’ Night: the event will now be held on Saturday, September 7, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Williamsburgh – just a collectible stone’s throw away from the City Reliquary. This change will allow us to accommodate more collectors and more attendees at a lower ticket price! General admission tickets will now be $20, with $10 discounted tickets available to presenting collectors and City Reliquary Members.

Our featured presenter on September 7 will be Laetitia Barbier of the Morbid Anatomy Museum showing guillotine models from her personal collection! She’ll explain how, as a very young child, a complete misunderstanding of the infamous machine’s purpose led her to a life-long fascination, and how guillotines inspired both horror and titillation throughout the 19th century.

Do you have a collection you’d be interested in displaying at Collectors’ Night 2019? Big or small, loosely grouped or exactingly themed, obscure or commonplace, vintage or brand new – we’d love to see it! Follow this link to complete a brief application form. If accepted, you’ll receive a code for discount tickets and special instructions. We’ll try to get back to you speedily – usually within a day.

We hope to see you on September 7 as a collector or guest!

A Ticker Tape Extravaganza!

Join us for a very special event on Saturday, June 22, from 6:00-9:00 p.m.!

A ticker tape ribbon with event information

Did you know that the first ticker tape parade occurred in New York City during the Statue of Liberty’s dedication in 1886? Curious about what, exactly, ticker tape is? Join us on Saturday, June 22 at the City Reliquary to learn more about the past and present of parades in NYC! We’ll hear from Andy Breslau of the Downtown Alliance, which provides improvement services for lower Manhattan, including the famed “Canyon of Heroes” on Broadway.

If you’ve never qualified to be part of an official ticker tape parade (or even if you have), you can enjoy the experience in our ticker tape photobooth! Souvenir Polaroid photos will be $5.

This ticker tape event is FREE with admission to the City Reliquary Museum.

The Art Neighborhood: Celebrating Ten Years of Action 2009-2019

The City Reliquary is proud to present The Art Neighborhood’s 10th Anniversary installation! Throughout June and July, the Neighborhood will grow in our gallery space and be populated with action figures made by our visitors. Come watch the installation take shape during our open hours, and join us for action figure making workshops on Saturday, June 15 and Saturday, July 13!

The Art Neighborhood is an interactive and collaborative art installation created by Brooklyn artist Lisa Ludwig. It depicts an alternate universe shantytown populated by superhero action figures built by community participants over the past 10 years.

Built from found materials, the world of the Art Neighborhood reflects the themes of struggle, beauty, hope, and transformation. It embodies the call to action necessary to address problems of poverty and conflict. Visitors participate by creating action figures – of themselves or alter egos – to add to the Art Neighborhood community installation with the understanding that artistic expression is one of many ways to answer a call to action.

Lisa will begin building this incarnation of the Art Neighborhood at the Reliquary on Thursday, May 30. Everyone is invited to come watch its progress and to create their own action figure to populate the town! Action figure workshops will take place on June 15 and July 13. The complete set of action figures, built by artists, children, musicians, activists, and museum-goers over the past decade, will be on rotating view in the front gallery space.

If you are a past participant in the Art Neighborhood, we especially hope to see you over the course of the exhibition, and hope you’ll add to your character’s story.

Patrick O’Hare: New York Landscapes Film Screening Friday, May 17

Shadowed skyline of buildings and trees against a darkening sky at dusk. Two vapor trails cross each other overhead.
Still from Chimera, New York City Landscapes

The City Reliquary Proudly Presents:

Patrick O’Hare: New York Landscapes

Film Screening & Reception: Friday, May 17th, 7 PM

Patrick O’Hare is a photographer and filmmaker who explores the architecture and landscape of the modern world. His films evoke that strange language of merging and omission that allows reality to slip and hints at the invisible. Through the cracks, something startles and vanishes – the shape-shifting riddle of inside and outside.

On May 17, the City Reliquary will screen three of O’Hare’s recent films: Chimera, New York City Landscapes; The Highlands; and The Ecstasy of Ruins. Shot in 2018 in New York City, the Hudson River Valley, and upstate New York respectively, these works explore the natural and manufactured elements of our landscape, blurring the line between permanence and the evanescent to form a more elusive state of being. A discussion with the artist and reception will follow the screening. Chimera, New York City Landscapes will be on continuous view in the City Reliquary’s gallery in the following weeks.

The May 17 screening is free with late night admission to the City Reliquary Museum, a suggested donation of $7.

Patrick O’Hare’s photographs have been exhibited at MoMA PS1, Parsons School of Design, and Rhode Island School of Design. He has screened his films at UnionDocs in Brooklyn, New York and the Unseen Film Festival in Denver, Colorado.


Synopsis:

Chimera, New York Landscapes (2018). HD, Silent, 18:00

A city as hybrid of public and private, modern efficiency and timeless elements, projected through light and weather, refracted and collaged.

The Highlands (2018). HD, Silent, 18:41

A series of Hudson Valley landscapes, the film asks what a river and its environs evoke as an ancient conduit to a present state of mind.

The Ecstasy of Ruins (2018). HD, Silent, 19:27

The quiet geography of upstate New York reveals an architecture of melancholy and a twilight civilization writ large.

Psychic City: The Medium of Mediums

Exhibit logo for Psychic City: The Medium of Mediums with crystal ball

Solve all your problems! Guaranteed results! Explore the history of New York City psychics, mediums, and fortune tellers with this vast archive of handbills and flyers collected by Harley J. Spiller. This exhibition — curated and designed by Parsons students — is a multi-sensory experience that allows visitors to ponder the past and seek their future. One visit will show you the way!

Exhibition on view April 4, 2019 – May 26, 2019

Hand-drawn flyers advertising psychic advice by phone, created by the exhibit designers.
The interactive exhibit invites you to get a reading of your own by phone.

The 12th Annual Panorama Challenge!

Friday, March 1, 2019 — Doors 6 p.m. — Game at 7 p.m.

At Queens Museum – Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

General Admission Tickets: $15 advance / $20 at the door

City Reliquary and Queens Museum Members: $12 advance / $15 at the door

Mark your calendars and break out your Blue Guides: it’s nearly time for the Panorama Challenge! 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!

Panorama Challenge quizzes players on all things NYC. MC Gary Dennis 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 eighth year with another batch of new questions. This year, categories may include: Signs in Woodhaven**, Revolutionary NYC, Rock of Ages (geology), Tunnel Time, and Old Time Religion (notable houses of worship). (Start building your teams accordingly!) The ever-popular Halftime Quiz will also return!

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!

Our judges this year include author, urban explorer, and abandoned observation deck aficionado Moses Gates, and Dean of New York City tour guides Lee Gelber, with others soon to be announced!

Sandwiches, snacks, and beverages will be available for purchase. Beer will be available for purchase by donation, lovingly provided by our friends at Brooklyn Brewery. Proceeds from admission and concessions support The City Reliquary Museum and Queens Museum.

A free shuttle, generously provided by DaVinci Limo & Tours, will travel between the Queens Museum and under the Mets‐Willets Point 7 stop from 5:30-7 pm and 9-10 pm.

**An earlier version of this post listed this category incorrectly (“Signs of Elmhurst”).

New Community Collection: Jennifer Rice’s Vintage Confetti

Now On View:
Vintage Confetti
Through Winter 2019

The City Reliquary is proud to present the vintage confetti and confetti-related ephemera collection of Jennifer Rice. She was first inspired to start collecting when she learned that workers renovating NYC’s famed Rainbow Room found confetti from the 1940s beneath the rotating dance floor. Her collection includes packaged confetti from all over the world and items depicting confetti’s history, manufacture, cultural significance, and influence in design and branding.

Modern confetti has its roots in ancient civilizations and the act of throwing plant-based materials (i.e. seeds, nuts, twigs) to celebrate life, death, unions, or sacrificial offerings. The word ‘confetti‘ hails from the Latin conficere meaning “to prepare or to make ready.” This evolved to the French confit or confiture translating as preserved meats and fruits. After the colonization of the Americas these terms came to be more closely associated with preserving in sugar eventually evolving into 18th century Italian confetti (little sweets) or the English confectionary.
In 18th century France and Italy, Carnevale, an indulgent celebration before the start of Lent, confetti in the form of candied fruits and nuts were thrown. As sugar was a luxury item at the time, by the 1830s plaster of Paris replaced candied sweets. Written accounts and illustrations from the time, as pictured on postcards in this collection, show the need for masks also known as par a bonbons to protect the face especially during batailles de confetticonfetti battles.
Wearing masks to avoid the harm of thrown candied sweets and plaster evolved to non-harmful variations of confetti. In 1875 Italy, Enrico Mangili used the refuse of paper holes punched in paper to aid hatching silkworms to introduce the first variation of paper confetti. By 1892, plaster confetti was banned in Paris and in 1894 French poster artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec was commissioned by London paper manufacturer J. E. Bella to advertise their “injury-free” paper confetti.
Meanwhile, in New York City, confetti in the form of candy and paper was used throughout the late 19th century, but a unique to New York variation of confetti was first used in 1886 during a parade to celebrate the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. Ticker tape, a 1 inch wide piece of paper that recorded stock quotes, came to be known for its dramatic effect when dropped from a height. Ticker tape parades were so prevalent during the first half of the 20th century and so tied to New York’s cultural identity that the Alliance for New York embedded granite markers commemorating each significant parade along the historic stretch of Broadway known as the “Canyon of Heroes.” Another NYC confetti tradition continues today with the Times Square ball drop confetti shower at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Making A Museum: Behind the Scenes at the City Reliquary

The City Reliquary is taking visitors inside our processes of acquisition, research, and preservation of our collection. As we redesign our permanent collection and bring out some of our rarely exhibited holdings, we’re also adding new objects, studying their history, and creating new informative text panels. Our exhibition hall has become a workshop and creative laboratory as well as a display space, and every week we’ll be working on new additions. We invite you to journey with us as we learn new stories of the city and craft ways to share them.

You can find our updates and research on our blog tagged “making a museum“!

A Seltzer Works Tour – Saturday, December 15!

In the 1920s and 30s, Brooklyn was home to more than 100 seltzer bottlers and distributors. Customers seeking the digestive health benefits of filtered, carbonated New York City water could get it delivered to their homes in hand-blown glass bottles. The City Reliquary’s permanent collection includes a number of these vintage bottles, etched with logos from companies based throughout the borough – from A&M to Windy’s, Simon Finkelstein to Standard Carbonic.

We’re bringing our seltzer bottle collection to life with a special tour of the last seltzer bottler in Brooklyn – Gomberg Seltzer Works in Canarsie,, a.k.a. the Brooklyn Seltzer Boys. They do it all the old-fashioned way, from carbonation and filling each bottle by

hand, to home delivery of vintage siphon bottles in wooden crates. Attendees will learn how seltzer is made and about the delivery business past and present, concluding with a taste of Brooklyn’s iconic seltzer-based treat, the egg cream. (Made with Brooklyn’s own Fox’s syrup, naturally!)

Our 11 a.m. seltzer works tour is now SOLD OUT! But we’ve just added a second tour on December 15, 2018, at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are available now for our second tour!  Space is very limited, so don’t wait to sign up! City Reliquary Members receive discounts on all our tours and events. Join today for special access to tours inspired by the Museum’s permanent collection of artifacts throughout 2019!