Collectors Night

Oct. 27: A Message from Harley Spiller, Inspector Collector and Charter Board Member

Harley Spiller (aka “Inspector Collector”), Guinness World Record holder for largest collection of menus, with his highly rare “More Menus Please” sign

Dear friends and fellow Reliquarians,

We are proud to announce that our Sustainability Drive met its half-way goal last week!!  Now, we need to keep this momentum up.  There is still a long road ahead of us to make sure we can keep our doors open by Sunday, November 22nd with $3,000/month of sustainable funding!

Have you ever been Othered? Mocked? Felt like the weird kid in the back of the room? Does that feel good? We hear your resounding NOs and invite you to the City Reliquary, a unique spot in NYC where no one is shunted to the side, where all are welcome, where civicness and civility take precedence over money, status, and power, where equity and openness rule the roost with kindness and fun.  
 

I’m Harley Spiller aka Inspector Collector and I LOVE the City Reliquary, the tiny but vital artist- and community-led museum in the heart of NYC, a place where little becomes large, where choruses unsung are made audible to the masses. City Reliquary is an altruistic organization, a haven where ego and greed take a back seat to neighborliness.

I used to keep my oddball collecting passions secret – until I was introduced to City Reliquary, a supportive home for collectors of every stripe. It was in the City Reliquary’s modest galleries that I found a welcoming public for my passion to present exhibitions about overlooked subjects including Mr. T, the first Black live-action superhero, Chinese restaurant workers, fortune tellers, even the humble chicken (only after exhibiting my collection of wishbones in CR’s Community Collections case, from a tiny quail’s all the way up to an 8-inch long pelican’s, did I learn that wishbone collections are rare and valued by paleontologists who call them furcula and link them back to flying dinosaurs). 

A compassionate, public-spirited, and noble place is hard to keep afloat in our capital-crazed world but that’s exactly what City Reliquary has been doing since its inception in 2002. Please join with the legions of fans who have visited and supported the CR, from YOU and me, to Borough Presidents and Shirley Chisholm, to professors galore and the free-spirited members of the Puerto Rican Schwinn Club. There’s a home for all civic individuals at the Reliquary!

It’s hard to find oxygen in these days of Covid-19 but there’s no more worthy and humanitarian organization than City Reliquary. Please dig deep and join today to help City Reliquary keep on keeping on, forevermore!

Harley Spiller

Ken Dewey Director

Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.
 

In honor of Harley’s award-winning collection of Chinese menus, we have renamed our membership tiers this week after Harley’s favorite vegetarian Chinese dishes:

$10/mo. Snow Pea Leaves Level

$20/mo. General Tso’s Tofu Level

$30/mo. Mock Duck Level

$50/mo. Eight Treasures Vegetarian Fried Rice Level

Oct. 20: A Message from LuLu LoLo, City Reliquary Charter Member

LuLu LoLo dressed as Valentine
The Fabulous LuLu LoLo takes Manhattan (Photo by Eric Harvey Brown)

Dear Fellow Reliquarians,

As of today, Tuesday 10/20 at 2:00 PM, we are just 1 sustainable member short of our half-way mark!  YOU can be the one to get us across that half-way goal by signing up TODAY!

Hi! You might remember me as a museum docent at the City Reliquary front desk, or from my favorite annual event Collector’s Night, where as a passionate collector I’ve shared my collections of dead bugs, paper clips that my dog chewed, vintage hats, Eiffel Towers, Ladurée macaron boxes, and my mother’s vintage holiday greeting cards—joining all of the obsessive collectors who contribute to the rich and unique City Reliquary community.

As a life-long New Yorker and a playwright/performance artist my work is rooted in the history of New York City. The exhibits at City Reliquary rekindle so many memories for me: the 1964 World’s Fair, the changing sizes of the subway tokens, the Seltzer bottle collection (reminding me of Harry our seltzer man who arrived every Saturday with a case of seltzer), the Jackie Robinson display brings back my childhood  memory of receiving a Jackie Robinson doll for Christmas from my father (a New York Giants baseball fan), the fun of researching the history and costume for the Reliquary’s famous Little Egypt display, and the magical sparkle of Manhattan Schist that is the bedrock of New York City. These collections were all built by passionate New Yorkers like me. 

The City Reliquary's Little Egypt display.
The City Reliquary’s Little Egypt display.

I have witnessed many beloved New York City sites vanish: Penn Station, the Third Avenue El, and CBGB’s—Now, I’m asking you to help prevent the City Reliquary from vanishing too. 

You can keep the Reliquary doors open by becoming a Sustaining Member for as little as $10 a month—less than a ticket to the movies or some fancy phone apps. If you prefer,  make a one-time or annual contribution and we’ll pro-rate a customized membership. 

In order to keep the City Reliquary as we know it, we must have 300 Sustainable Memberships by November 22nd! We want to thank all of our members who have joined in the first half of our sustainability drive, and ask you to help us by encouraging your friends to join us in the second half!  

I’m a civic New Yorker—I’m passionate about my city and the City Reliquary Museum—and I hope you will show your passion too by becoming a part of this vital community museum celebrating the unique history of New York City.  

LuLu LoLo as Joan of Arc in a performance of "Where are the Women?" at Union Square.

LuLu LoLo as Joan of Arc in a performance of “Where are the Women?”. (Photo by Keka Marzagao)

In honor of The Fabulous LuLu LoLo’s ongoing performance series “Where are the Women?” we have created the following membership tiers in honor of these great New Yorkers. 

$10/mo. Emily Warren Roebling Level

$20/mo.  Ruth Bader Ginsberg Level

$30/mo.  Shirley Chisholm Level

$50/mo.  Mother Cabrini Level


The City Reliquary LIVE on Instagram!

We’re excited to present our weekly lineup of City Reliquary: Home Edition virtual events! Every Tuesday – Wednesday – Thursday you can watch and participate in mini versions of City Reliquary signature events on Instagram! All programs will start at 8 pm EDT.

Tuesdays: Panorama Challenge: Home Edition

The Panorama Challenge is the City Reliquary’s annual trivia game that tests your knowledge of NYC landmarks and geography using a most unusual board: the Panorama of the City of New York, created for the 1964 World’s Fair and housed at the Queens Museum. Since 2007, we have been proud to host this event at the Queens Museum and to co-organize it with Levy’s Unique New York tour agency.

Quizmaster and GANYC tour guide Jonathan Turer hosts this series of virtual visits with past Panorama Challenge judges sharing their favorite tidbits of NYC trivia and classic questions of Panorama Challenges past. See how well you know your city!

Wednesdays: Miss Subways: Home Edition

The Miss Subways Extravaganza is a night of fabulous performances celebrating the heart of NYC, our mass transit system! Inspired by the Miss Subways pageants held in NYC between 1941 and 1976, contestants vie for the Transit Tiara awarded by a panel of celebrity judges. The City Reliquary and Riders Alliance have co-produced this event since 2017.

On Wednesdays, Alex Low will host a series of performances by Miss Subways champions and competitors past and present! Tune in for a bit of subway busking and other entertainment in your home!

Thursdays: Collectors’ Night: Home Edition

Collectors’ Night, our annual celebration of collectors and their unique and intriguing collections, has been a City Reliquary tradition since 2005! This event allows collectors to show off their obsessive labors of love, from the mundane to the eccentric, and share stories about their inspiration and process.

Aniela Coveleski hosts an online interview each Wednesday with a collector of fascinating objects, going in depth with their favorite items and how their collections came to be!

If you have a collection, a subway-themed performance, or specialized NYC trivia knowledge that you’re interested in sharing with City Reliquary friends and neighbors, please get in touch with us at info@cityreliquary.org!

Opening Reception for Glen Eden Einbinder’s Glen Eden Collection on February 20!

Thursday, February 20 at 6:30 pm at the City Reliquary Museum

The City Reliquary and Glen Eden Einbinder invite you to an opening reception for our latest Community Collections exhibit of Glen Eden items! Glen’s eponymous collection (and potentially some extras) will be on view and Glen will be on hand to talk about the many and varied Glen Eden representations he has found from across the world. Light refreshments will be served. Admission is pay-what-you-wish, and all are welcome.

Community Collection: Glen Eden Einbinder’s Glen Eden Collection

Travel brochures and postcards form places named Glen Eden, and fabric in a floral pattern called Glen Eden, from Glen Eden Einbinder's collection.
Some of the many places and things bearing the Glen Eden name.

The City Reliquary welcomes Glen Eden Einbinder and his eponymous collection to our Community Collections case! His wide-ranging artifacts – china, fabric, postcards, camp photos, soap, road maps, and more – share something with each other and their collector: all are named Glen Eden.

Glen started his collection in college when he came across a bottle of Glen Eden whiskey, a now-defunct brand. While the quality of the whiskey was not much to speak of, the coincidence of its name and Glen’s inspired him to keep the label. He subsequently took notice of other instances of objects or places sharing his first and middle name and began to collect their physical representations. The evocative pastoral, idyllic quality of the name Glen Eden lends itself well to a wide variety of products and places, a sample of which are now on view. Glen’s full collection includes numerous postcards and photos of street signs from across the U.S. and from as far away as New Zealand. Closer to home is the Glen Eden girls’ finishing school in Poughkeepsie, NY, represented by vintage magazine advertisements and a painting of an ice skater in a Glen Eden sweater.

Glen’s Glen Eden collection will be on view at the City Reliquary through Fall 2020. He will also be making a special guest appearance at the City Reliquary & Museum of Interesting Things’ Secret Speakeasy on Sunday, January 26 to discuss his collection!

You can also see a video of Glen’s collection at his website.

Collectors’ Night 2019!

"Collectors" spelled out using different vintage objects.

Saturday, September 7, 2019 6:00-9:00 p.m. Tickets available at the link!

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

General admission tickets $20 /$10 discounted tickets available to presenting collectors and City Reliquary Members.

The City Reliquary is proud to present our 14th Annual Collectors’ Night! Every year, collectors and archivists – whose collections run the gamut from loose groupings to the hyper-specific – display their treasures to the public and share their stories in a rapid-fire show and tell. It is an opportunity to get up close with obsessive labors of love.

Our featured presenter on September 7 will be architect and NYU Professor Louise Harpman, who will be speaking about her collection of coffee cup lids! Her recent book (co-written with Scott Specht) on the surprisingly complex design of this ubiquitous yet commonly overlooked item has received rave reviews, and she even acts as a consultant on coffee cup lid design from time to time!

We’ll also have a very special live model presentation of handmade vintage Hungarian dresses from director, actor, and fashion maven Syrie Moskowitz!

In addition, we’ll have our usual eccentric variety of collections – check out these photos of past editions! Small collections of large things. Large collections of small things. Commonplace items with a singular theme. Vintage, obscure, and ephemeral. Precisely laid out vitrines or piles of whatsits. You’ll see it all!

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!

Collectors’ Night 2018

Collectors’ Night 2018
New York City Fire Museum, 278 Spring St., New York, NY 10013
Online admission: $10 general/$7 Reliquary and Fire Museum members
Door admission: $13 general/$10 Reliquary and Fire Museum members
Buy tickets here!
RSVP on Facebook

The City Reliquary will be hosting its 13th annual Collectors’ Night on Saturday, April 14th, 2018,6pm-8pm, at the New York City Fire Museum. Join us in celebrating curious collections, displays, and ephemera!

Each year, collectors and archivists — whose acquisitions run the gamut, from loose groupings to the hyper-specific–showcase their treasures to the public and participate in rapid-fire show-n-tells. This is an opportunity to get up close with collective labors of love.

Special guest speakers will focus on municipal collections of New York City and feature:

Brian Kelley’s NYCTA project, which began as a simple collection of MetroCards taken from the ground and has since expanded to encompass Transit Authority materials, patches, pamphlets, pins, tickets, tokens, limited-edition MetroCards, and more.

Nelson Molina, a retired DSNY worker, will present on his Treasures in the Trash collection.

And a special presentation from Amanda Pietrzykowski, Collections Manager and Curator of the New York City Fire Museum, detailing the history and cultural heritage of the fire service of New York.

 

This year’s collections include:

  • Coca-Cola ephemera (David Argov)
  • Earthrise Museum (Ben Sisto)
  • Museum of Interesting Things (Denny Daniel)
  • Squished pennies (Suzie Sims-Fletcher)
  • Found ID cards and corroding bottle caps (Harley Spiller)
  • Archival 16mm cartoons (Tommy Stathes)
  • Antique china, glass, bottles, and seaglass (Emily Kawasaki)
  • Chicago gang business cards from the 1960s-1990s(Brandon Johnson)
  • Collection of frog-related items (Dianna Maeurer)
  • Photo postcards from World War I (Chris Engel)
  • Shea Stadium ephemera (Jason Antos)
  • Labels and sign letters/numbers (Gail Mitchell)
  • The Wallet of Ronda J Smith – a collection of personal cards / credit cards / driver’s licenses (Ronda Smith)
  • Items created by a number of companies and entities that share that collector’s namesake (Glen Eden Einbinder)
  • Henry & Jay’s Collection Agency (Jason and Henry McLean)
  • “The Operative Owl”: a collection of primarily antique owls that function (Lesley Doyel)
  • Eiffel Tower collection (LuLu LoLo)
  • Retired NYC street furniture (Steven Gembara)
  • Polar bear collection (Olive Scanga)
  • Spider Gwen collection (Gwen Rosenstien)
  • Rescue Bot collection (Terry Haden)
  • Geological collection (Rosie Herman)
  • Sea life (Opal Herman)
  • PETROLIANA – vintage items related to gas stations and the oil business (Kevin McGeary)
  • Potato Tomes – Books with “Potato” in the Title from all around the world (Jeffrey Allen Price)
  • Behind the Make Up – The Soulfulness of Clowns: A collection of clown portraits showing their private pensive moments (Georgine and Bill Eberight)

Pizza and been generously provided by Two Boots Pizza and Brooklyn Brewery.

Bedford + Bowery Collector’s Night video coverage!

A reporter for Bedford + Bowery stopped by Collector’s Night to talk with a few of our collectors. Check out this short video to hear City Reliquary founder Dave Herman talk about the concept behind this annual event and to see some highlights from the evening!

Collectors Night Sign-Up!

SIGN UP AND SAVE THE DATE!!
COLLECTORS NIGHT 2017

Hosted at the New York City Fire Museum
Saturday, April 8 @ 5 PM

The City Reliquary Museum is proud to present its annual Collectors’ Night on Saturday, April 8 at the New York City Fire MuseumCollectors’ Night celebrates of one of the quirkier cultural practices of everyday New Yorkers. Every year, self-proclaimed archivists and packrats of every stripe gather to show off their collections. Displays range from the charming and quotidian to the intriguingly morbid.

With special presentations by guest speakers. This year’s special guests are Miriam Sicherman of the Closet Archaeology project, Mike Zohn of Obscura Antiquities and Oddities, and artist and activist LuLu LoLo of the Where Are The Women Monuments project.

To showcase your offbeat assemblage in a table display, submit the form below. A 6′ long table will be provided–see Event Details. You’ll also be invited to participate in the evening’s Rapid-Fire Show & Tell! We’ll accept submissions through Friday, March 24. For a mention in our press release, please respond by Monday, March 13.

Event schedule TBA

Event Details

Table Deposit:
A $10 fee will reserve your table and help support The City Reliquary. You can submit the $10 table deposit in the Other field on our Artfully donation page. Be sure to note “Collectors Night 2017 table” in the Special Instructions area of the Checkout page.

Collector’s Rights and Responsibilities:
Collections will remain in the care and protection of their owners. The owner understands that photo documentation may be taken of his/her display and used for press and other promotional purposes. Protective measures will be taken to assure that all collections are respectfully guarded from harm, but neither The City Reliquary nor New York Fire Museum is responsible for any damage or loss.

Presenters will transport and set up their collections between 3:00 and 4:30 PM on Saturday, April 8. Collectors must remove displays from the premises by 9 PM.

Display Guidelines:
We invite you to display your collection as creatively as you wish.  In the past, collectors have taken a “school science fair” approach and used a trifold display board. Flat objects, background information, or titles and informative labels work well against a cardboard backdrop. Helpful display accessories include: small boxes to raise objects; fabric to drape over table tops; glass or Plexiglas/acrylic vitrines; pins; clips; labels; extra lights; and extension cords. The New York City Fire Museum does not allow collectors to attach anything to the walls of the ballroom.

Collector’s Night 2015

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Collector’s Night 2015
Presented by The City Reliquary Museum
Hosted at Brooklyn Historical Society
Wednesday, December 2, 6:30 – 9:30 PM

The City Reliquary Museum is proud to present its annual Collector’s Night, a celebration of unique ephemera and those who curate it. Every year, collectors with a passion for amassing the unusual gather to present their objects and the fascinating stories behind them. This year we’ll meet at Brooklyn Historical Society on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 6:30 PM. Admission: $10, $5 for BHS and Green-Wood members. Beer generously provided by Brooklyn Brewery. Sandwiches from Hope Deli!

NelsonThe first part of the event presents the Treasures in the Trash collection of Nelson Molina, retired DSNY worker. We’ll begin with Kelly Adams’s One Man’s Trash (run time: 17 min.), first screened in the 2015 Margaret Mead Film Festival. Next, a discussion by Dr. Robin Nagle, DSNY Anthropologist-in-Residence and Director of the John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Humanities and Social Thought, NYU. (Watch her in this TED talk!) We’ll end with a Q&A with Nelson Molina himself.

collectors-slide-OHNH-jumbo

The second part of our event features…you! All collectors will give a brief show-&-tell of their displays. Confirmed displays include taxidermy and jarred animal specimens from Morbid Anatomy Museum guest lecturers; archival 16-mm cartoons; classic Broadway memorabilia & artifacts; unusual record formats; mutilated/altered US currency; and more! Cameo appearances by Paul Lukas and Harley Spiller, aka Inspector Collector.

Want to show off your own collection? Submit a form! We’ll accept submissions for table displays through November.

Questions? Contact us at collector@cityreliquary.org or by phone at (718) R-U-CIVIC

Photo credit:
Ashtrays from “Treasures in the Trash”: James Mulry
Still from “One Man’s Trash” (dir. Kelly Adams): Kelly Adams
Mark Splatter’s Anole lizards in a jar: Karsten Moran for The New York Times