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The Triangle Waist Factory Fire Memorial Quilt

To commemorate the 106th anniversary of the Triangle Waist Factory Fire, The City Reliquary will display Robin Berson’s memorial quilt in its front room exhibition space until May 2017.

The Triangle Waist Factory Fire
On Saturday, March 25, 1911, at 4:45 pm, almost closing time, a fire broke out on the 8th floor of the Triangle Waist Company located one block east of Washington Square Park at Washington Place and Greene Street. The owners had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks and to reduce theft. Fire escapes collapsed by the weight of the workers dropping them to their deaths. Workers on the 10th floor were warned by telephone and escaped to the roof. No one warned the workers on the 9th floor. A locked exit door trapped the workers on the 9th floor. Surrounded by flames many of the workers jumped to their death. Fire trucks arrived but their ladders only reached the 6th floor and the rescue nets could not hold the force of the bodies jumping from such a height. The heroic elevator operators ran the elevators as long as they could as workers pressed into the cars; some tumbled down the elevator shaft. In the end, 146 people died.

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The Triangle Fire—and the memorial quilt—represent an appalling moment in history, but one that drew an intelligent, far-reaching reform response across America. The fire became a rallying cry for the international labor movement and resulted in numerous state and national workplace reforms. Many of our fire safety laws were created in response to this tragic event. That is the history we must keep alive, for the sake of every working person in the country (and, in this globalized world, every worker everywhere). The need is greater than ever.

The Memorial Quilt

The Triangle Factory Fire Memorial quilt is one of two quilts in the series Workers Memorial Quilts created by quilter, author, and historian Robin Berson. The two quilts honor garment workers who died in twin workplace disasters that bookended the past century: the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 and the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse of 2012 and 2013 in Bangladesh.

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Conceived, Designed, and Sewn: Robin Berson
Contributors: Sandra Cain, Donna Choi, Deanna Gates, Pauline Hazard, Genevieve Hitchings, Maureen Hyslop, Jennifer Merz, Rena Rappaport, and Lea Williams Rose

To make this quilt, Robin Berson put out a call to a number of quilters’ guilds, assorted artists’ circles—and quite a few women. The quilt includes blocks by four quilter’s guild members: Sandra Cain, Pauline Hazard, Maureen Hyslop, and Rena Rappaport; two members of Robin’s knitters’ circle: Lea Williams Rose and Deanna Gates; and three students from an FIT class on illustration: Donna Choi, Jennifer Merz, and Genevieve Hitchings.  Robin created the rest of the blocks herself, in some cases working from old family portraits and archival photos, but in most cases tinkering elaborately with enlarged images from small photos in 110-year-old newspaper clippings.

In addition to the factory worker victims, the quilt also depicts the two heroic elevator operators, Joey Zito and Gaspare Mortilalo; and the African American porter, Thomas Horton.

Texts on the quilt include passages from beloved labor songs and quotes from notable American figures on the rights of workers—from Frederick Douglass to Dwight Eisenhower to Myles Horton—plus a listing of all the victims’ names.

The memorial quilts have been displayed at numerous small museums and galleries in New York City; the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; Iona College; the Virginia Arts of the Book Center, through the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. In March 2015 they were featured at the conference of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, hosted by Fordham Law School. For International Women’s Day 2016 they were part of a day-long presentation on the Triangle Fire at Hofstra University. The Triangle Quilt is featured in the book Quilts and Human Rights, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu.

For more information see:
www.rememberthetrianglefire.org
http://www.workermemorialquilts.org/

Collectors’ Night 2017

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Collectors’ Night 2017
New York City Fire Museum, 278 Spring Street, NY, NY
Saturday, April 8 @ 5 PM
Online admission: $7/$5 Reliquary or Fire Museum members
Door admission: $10/$8 Reliquary or Fire members
Join the Facebook event

The City Reliquary Museum is proud to present its annual Collectors’ Night on Saturday, April 8 at the New York City Fire Museum. Collectors’ Night celebrates one of the quirkier cultural practices of everyday New Yorkers. Every year, artists, packrats, and other unusual archivists gather to show off their collections. Displays range from the charming and quotidian to the intriguingly morbid. Special presentations by guest speakers focus on a specific area of collecting.


Collectors’ Night 2017 Guest Speakers:

Schoolteacher Miriam Sicherman of the “Closet Archeology” project will discuss the early 20th-century debris found by her 4th graders under the floorboards of their 1913 NYC public school. See coverage from the New York Times.

Mike Zohn of Obscura Antiques & Oddities will discuss his collection of original artwork from 1960s & ’70s Mexican comic books.

And a special performance from artist and activist LuLu LoLo of the Where Are The Women Monuments project. LuLu will perform two short monologues drawn from the obituaries of Elizabeth Tashjian, founder of The Nut Museum, and Hugh Hicks, whose massive light bulb collection formed the Mount Vernon Museum of Incandescent Lighting.

This year collections:

  • Industrial Revolution and Mechanical Era ephemera from Museum of Interesting Things. With interactive demonstrations.
  • Rare maps, books and photos chronicling the history of Queens from Jason Antos
  • Coca-Cola ephemera from David Argov
  • 100 years of paper, cardboard and self-playing ephemeral records from Michael Cumella aka Phonograph DJ MAC. Some records will be played on site.
  • 12 reproduction mechanical banks from Georgine and Bill Eberight. Includes coin demos.
  • Vintage cartoon decals, illustrated aprons, cocktail napkins, and more comic ephemera from Gabe Fowler of Desert Island Comics
  • Business cards of Chicago gangs from the 1970s & ’80s from Brandon Johnson. Brandon’s collection of gang “compliment cards” has been published as Thee Almighty & Insane. The book has been reviewed by Vice.
  • Preserved insects from Jamison Heldrich
  • Beach and sea glass collected in New York from Emily Kawasaki
  • Vintage hats & handkerchiefs from artist and activist LuLu LoLo
  • Found fishing lures and metal tins from different countries from Gail Mitchell
  • Road maps from Alex Schneider
  • Classic educational filmstrips from Jonathan Sims. With projection of some strips.
  • Collections of rock collections acquired from friends, family, states, and geological societies from artist Ben Sisto
  • 1950s lady head vases from Lisa and Nina Skriloff
  • Star Wars items, mounted mini orchids, and wheat pennies from Mike Smith
  • Mid-century desk lamps from Ronda J. Smith and Adrien Blanc
  • WWII family ephemera and vintage potato ads from Harley Spiller, aka Inspector Collector
  • Archival 16mm vintage cartoons by Tommy Stathes of Cartoons on Film. Screenings throughout the night.
  • Over 100 1:64-scale police, fire and emergency vehicles, with many international police cars and rare items from Corgi, Solido, Siku, Matchbox, Hot Wheels and Tomica, from Jeremy Willinger
  • And the City Reliquary Kid Collectors! Featuring the collection of “O” shapes from Opal Herman, the geisha doll collection of Rosie Herman, the miniature action figures of Gwen Rosenstein, and the Beanie Boo & Pokemon collection of Olive Scanga!

Event Schedule

5:00-5:30: DJ music by Nigel; Pizza by Two Boots & Beer by Brooklyn Brewery (by donation); time to browse collections

5:30-6:00: Introduction to CN by CR President Bill Scanga; Round 1 of Rapid-Fire Show-n-Tell

6:00-6:15Intermission

6:15-7:15: Speakers: Miriam Sicherman’s Closet Archeology; LuLu LoLo performance; Mike Zohn’s Mexican Comic Art

7:15-7:30: Second Intermission

7:30- 8:00: Round 2 of Rapid-Fire Show-n-Tell Closing remarks by CR Director Dave Herman

Refreshments courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery and Two Boots Pizza!

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#CollectorsNight

Tickets through Artfully, $7/$5 for City Reliquary or Fire Museum members. Become a Reliquary member todayAdmission at the door will be $10/$8 Reliquary and Fire Museum members. Buy online and save!

Check out a few pics from Collectors’ Night 2016, and see more on our Facebook page.

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If These Knishes Could Talk: screening & discussion with Heather Quinlan

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If These Knishes Could Talk

Screening & discussion with filmmaker Heather Quinlan
Saturday, April 1 @ 7 PM
$10/$8 Reliquary members

In conjunction with our current exhibition, Heroes of the Knish, we’re screening If These Knishes Could Talk: The Story of the New York Accent followed by a discussion with filmmaker Heather Quinlan on Saturday, April 1 at 7 PM.

Tickets available through Artfully. $10 general, $8 Reliquary members. Become a member today and save!

This film premiered at the 2013 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival. It explores why New Yorkers eat “chawclate” and drink “cawfee,” and how the accent became the vibrant soundtrack of a city. Featuring Penny Marshall, Amy Heckerling, Alan Dershowitz, and a cast of characters from Canarsie to Tottenville. It has received coverage from NPR, the New York Times, and The New Yorker.

Check out the trailer! (Warning, contains some NSFW language.)

FREE LIKE OSCAR: Resistance Through Afro-Latino Culture

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FREE LIKE OSCAR:
Resistance Through Afro-Latino Culture
Thurs., March 9 @ 7 PM
$10/$8 Reliquary members

Join us for a discussion with Melinda González, co founder of BombaYo, on Latino cultural traditions rooted in the African diaspora that are particularly effective at teaching us resistance and resilience. The discussion includes reflections on the campaign to free Puerto Rican political prisoner, Oscar López Rivera. López Rivera’s sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama on January 17, 2017. 



Following Melinda’s discussion will be a community healing drum sharing by Jose L. Ortiz, aka Dr. Drum, director of BombaYo, an intergenerational Afro Puerto Rican drum and dance ensemble.



Space is limited. Reserve your seat now!

This event is part of Beyond Patience & Fortitude, a series sponsored by The City Reliquary to promote advocacy and civic action in the current political climate while celebrating the diversity of New York City.

Closed for Mysteries at the Museum!

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We’ll be closed Friday, Feb. 17 for a filming session with Mysteries at the Museum. See you Saturday!

Redefining “native New Yorker”

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Thurs., Feb. 23 @ 7:30 PM
$10/$8 Reliquary members

For many people, the term “native New Yorker” usually refers to someone born and raised in one of the five boroughs. While this is one way of understanding what it means to be a native in New York, this group of presentations and performances will offer a broader and more inclusive look.

Three guests will discuss different ways of understanding native culture in NYC:

Matt Levy, a Brooklyn-born New Yorker and co-owner of the Levy’s Unique New York! tour company. He will share a vibrant history of how New York City has become a place of tolerance, multilingualism, ambition, and drive.

Ryan Victor “Little Eagle” Pierce, a member of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation and Founder and Artistic Director of The Eagle Project. He will perform a Lenape prayer song and some of his poetry, including “Survivor of Genocide.” The Lenape land included southeastern New York State as well as all of what is now New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware and a small section of southeastern Connecticut.

Our final guest is Kaina Quenga. Kaina Quenga is a native Hawaiian, from Hawaiʻi and lives in New York City.  She will share a performance of traditional Hawaiian Hula and chant.

Space is limited! Reserve your seat now!

This event is part of Beyond Patience & Fortitude, a series sponsored by The City Reliquary to promote advocacy and civic action while celebrating the diversity of NYC.

American Life Through Muslim Eyes: Perspectives From Mother & Son

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American Life Through Muslim Eyes
Perspectives From Mother & Son

Thursday, March 2 @ 7 PM
$10/$8 Reliquary Members

Join us as Sabeeha Rehman reads from her highly acclaimed book, Threading My Prayer Rug. This collection of Sabeeha’s memoirs presents humorous and poignant moments from her life as a Muslim woman who immigrated from Pakistan to the US. The evening will include a discussion with Sabeeha and her son, Asim Rehman, about their personal experiences and perspectives as Muslim-Americans.

“Rehman lends a strong and compelling voice to moderate Muslims, and her discussion of her faith and the areas she believes need modernization illustrate the different opinions within the Muslim community.”—Library Journal

“With sparkling anecdotes . . . Rehman’s spirited debut memoir illuminates the challenges of living an authentically Muslim life in America.”—Publishers Weekly

“Rehman’s personal journey is her own, but speaks broadly to all immigrant journeys in contemporary America. With so much discussion about immigrants from Muslim in the national conversation, it’s good to have a story with this unique perspective. . . . we see how she navigates American society, retains her identity and passes it on to her children and community, accepts becoming an American, modifies some of her traditions while manufacturing new ones, and enriches her own life and the lives of those around her—thus weaving her contribution into the fabric of America, and enriching the American tapestry.” — Booklist (starred review) & Top 10 Religion & Spirituality Books of 2016

Booklist also listed Threading My Prayer Rug as one of their Top 10 Diverse Nonfiction Books for 2017.

Space is limited for this event. We strongly suggest buying tix in advance thru Artfully.

This event is part of Beyond Patience & Fortitude, a series sponsored by The City Reliquary to promote advocacy and civic action while celebrating the diversity of NYC.

#beyondpatience

About the speakers:

SabeehaSabeeha Rehman was born and raised in Pakistan. She came to the United States in 1971, after a hurried arranged marriage to a Pakistani doctor in New York. With a bachelor’s degree in Home Economics, she settled into the life of a homemaker. Once both her sons were enrolled full-time in school, she went back to school to get her master’s in Healthcare Administration, and began her 25-year career as a hospital administrator. Her career spanned hospitals in New York, New Jersey, and Saudi Arabia. Raising children Muslim in the absence of a Muslim community was a daunting challenge. With time running out, in the early 1980s, she began the work of establishing a Muslim community on Staten Island, which culminated in the building of a mosque. She has spent the last several decades in engaging in an interfaith dialogue with faith communities. She volunteered as the Director of Interfaith Programs at the American Society for Muslim Advancement; and served as the Chief Operating Officer at The Cordoba Initiative, a multi-faith organization dedicated to building bridges between Muslims and the West.

Asim RehmanAsim Rehman is a Co-Founder and former President of the Muslim Bar Association of New York, through which he worked on various police accountability issues. An expert on civil liberties issues, he has testified before the United States Commission on Civil Rights regarding government engagement with Arab and Muslim communities in a post 9/11 world. Mr. Rehman received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and undergraduate degree from Haverford College.

Heroes of the Knish covered in the Forward!

Photo Credit: Barbara Pfeffer

Photo Credit: Barbara Pfeffer

Our upcoming exhibition, Heroes of the Knish just received this excellent writeup in the Forward! Don’t miss the opening reception this Sunday, Feb. 12 @ 2 PM!

The Forward is a periodical delivering incisive coverage of the issues, ideas and institutions that matter to American Jews. Now in its 120th year of operation, and with digital and print editions in both English and Yiddish, the Forward reaches more than 1.2 million average monthly users. Its public service mission is to promote an informed, connected and inspired American Jewish citizenry through outstanding journalism.

Closed for Winter Storm Niko!

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The City Reliquary will be closed today, Feb. 9, 2017, due to Winter Storm Niko. Stay safe and warm, everyone!

Letters From A Barstool

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Letters From A Barstool
Organized by Write the Wrong 
President’s Day, Feb. 20, 5 – 8 PM
Free & Open to the Public!

Calling all Civic New Yorkers!

We’re teaming up with Write the Wrong on President’s Day, Feb. 20, for Letters from a Barstool! Sip on suds as you write your reps! Enjoy a beverage and commiserate, plan, or debate with fellow concerned New Yorkers as we hold our political leaders accountable.

Postcards, postage, and pens provided. We’ll share politicians’ names and office addresses, and we’ll list specific current issues if you need help focusing your thoughts.

Admission is 100% free! Beverages available by suggested donation. Thanks to our sponsors at Brooklyn Brewery!

For those attending a certain rally on Feb. 20, fear not!–this event goes til 8 PM.

#writethewrong #lettersfromabarstool