Posts Tagged ‘Michael Miscione’

Nov. 20 – A Message from Mike Miscione and Robin Nagle!

Robin Nagle is the Department of Sanitation of New York’s anthropologist-in-residence. Michael Miscione served as the Manhattan Borough Historian from 2006 to 2019. 

Michael: Hey, Robin. 

Robin: Hey, Mike – good to see you! 

M: Like so many New Yorkers, we both love the City Reliquary. But it is hurting these days and it needs more than just love to get by. So I thought we should tell people why we think the Reliquary deserves their financial support. But first, what’s your attachment to the Reliquary?

 R: The City Reliquary is a touchstone for me whenever I’m teaching or speaking or writing about New York’s history and its unique dynamic. I’ve seen the diverse exhibits, creative outreach, and gorgeously unique public programs inspire everyone lucky enough to experience them. And the Reliquary’s street-level focus and down-to-earth attitude is a model for the eventual Museum of Sanitation. 
How about you, Mike?

M: Well, I learned about the Reliquary when it was still just a glorified window display attached to Dave Herman’s street level apartment. I fell in love with the concept instantly and wanted to help out. I gave them a piece of the City Hall building for their collection.

R: Wait, what??

M: Don’t worry, I didn’t vandalize the place. It was a discarded scrap from when they renovated the roof about twenty years ago. Then I did a Jeopardy!-style quiz show for them — this was years before the Panorama Challenge. We did it out on the street and kept score with M&Ms in plastic cups. Speaking of the Panorama Challenge, I am honored that every year the Reliquary invites me to be a celebrity judge for that annual fund-raiser. 

The Reliquary is such a special institution, don’t you agree?

R: The City Reliquary represents what I think of as the real New York. It celebrates the city’s authentic quirkiness, it’s overlooked histories, and its unfamous but fascinating people. In doing that, it guards against the forces of gentrification and corporatization that threaten to consume more and more of our urban dynamic. 

M: Whenever I describe the Reliquary in one sentence I use the term “New Yorky.” But in a way that’s wrong. The reliquary is quintessentially American in a way that is entirely un-New York. 

R: How so? 

M: Whenever I take a vacation I never go to other big cities; I take road-trips through small-town and rural America. These little places all have their local homespun museums — and they all look like the Reliquary, not the Met! Here’s a rusty old tractor; there’s a display of pills and test tubes from the drug store before they tore it down; there’s an Indian blanket from the pioneer days. They are a hodgepodge of things that give that place an identity in the American tapestry. That’s what the Reliquary does, I think. It places “small town” New York City in the context of the rest of America.

R: An excellent point. The Reliquary shines a bright, loving light on objects and ephemera that are so easy to take for granted but that reflect the lived experience of so many New Yorkers, now and in the past. A subway turnstile, a phone booth — remember those? — a sign from the original 2nd Avenue Deli, a genuine wooden newsstand – those are just a few examples of the riches it holds. 
And it’s the only museum in New York that recognizes the enormous importance of Dead Horse Bay artifacts – treasures that deserve formal attention and conservation but that have been neglected by every other potentially relevant institution.

M: Oh, Robin, I know how much you love your Dead Horse Bay artifacts! 

M: As of this writing on Thursday night 11/19/20, the Reliquary only needs $580/month of sustainable memberships to reach their goal! That’s only 58 more members at the affordable rate of just $10 per month! I became a member, and I know you’ve pitched in too, right?

R: Absolutely! And here’s the thing about the City Reliquary – it’s not a high-end museum with a gajillion-dollar budget. It doesn’t attract huge corporate sponsors or deep-pocket donors. It survives because of us – just folks who care about preserving New York narratives and artifacts and histories that are too easily overlooked, and thus too easily forgotten. 

The City Reliquary has always found a way to hold on – but the challenges of this year have been particularly daunting. It’s common to hear fundraisers claim that any dollar amount can make a big difference. For the City Reliquary, that’s never been more true than now. 

M: Yes, we must keep the City Reliquary going. It’s irreplaceable. When I needed a place to celebrate Alligator in the Sewer Day — February 9th, by the way — they said, “Let’s do it here!” The same with the exhibition you helped organize about the city’s trash. Would the New-York Historical Society have been so welcoming? I doubt it.

Thank you, Mike and Robin, for your support and your encouraging words! You can join them as a Member of the City Reliquary at this link.

The 10th Annual Panorama Challenge

Contestants at Pano Chal 9 in 2016.

Contestants at Pano Chal 9 in 2016.

The 10th Annual Panorama Challenge
Saturday, March 4, 2017

The City Reliquary Museum, Queens Museum, & The Levys’ Unique New York! Partner for a Unique Evening of Trivia!
Queens Museum: New York City Building
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, NY 11368

Tickets Available Now!!
General Admission: $15 online/$20 at door
City Reliquary & Queens Museum members: $12 online/$15 at door

SEEKING KNOW‐IT‐ALL NEW YORKERS AND LOVERS OF NYC! Meet us at the world’s largest architectural scale model – The Queens Museum Panorama of the City of New York – for a most unusual evening of trivia with the whole city at your feet! Proceeds support The City Reliquary Museum and Queens Museum.

Panorama Challenge quizzes participants about our city while judges highlight clues on the Panorama with laser pointers. Teams of 10 (or so) will use those clues and musical hints to answer questions about our fair city.

Jonathan Turer, in his sixth year as Quizmaster, has devised brand-new questions! New for 2017: Open House New York has joined us to create a category based on their upcoming series Getting to Zero: New York + Waste. Other categories include: Seinfeld, Snow in the City; Traveling by Subway; Mills, Mills, Mills; and Forts of NY. In light of BREXIT and the 2016 Presidential Election, the Halftime Quiz will feature questions based on British NYC and the Trumps.

Teams may be organized as a Panorama Challenger or Panorama Pro. Challengers are first‐timers who may not have dedicated their lives to the study of NYC. Their questions will be easier! Pros are returning contestants who are die‐hard students of our city’s hidden corners. They answer twice as many questions each round (60 total!) Worry not, friendly 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 at the Queens Museum!

This year’s impressive panel of judges includes award‐winning Dean of NYC Guides Lee Gelber; author and award‐winning webmaster of Forgotten NY Kevin Walsh; author and urban explorer Moses Gates; two-time Panorama Challenge winner Mitch Paluszek; and Manhattan Borough Historian Michael Miscione.

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

Beverages, sandwiches, and snacks 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 underneath the Mets‐Willets Point 7 stop from 5-6pm and from to 9-10 pm.

The Levys’ Unique New York! NY’s First Family of Tour Guides, is a family-run business of native New Yorkers: Mark and Matt Levy. The Levys’ Unique New York creates engaging, entertaining, educational and energetic private tours of NYC. From New York City Highlights to Architecture, Ethnic Eating Tours of Chinatown & the Jewish Lower East Side to Brooklyn’s Beat, we are passionate about our great city. Website:

The Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park features contemporary art, events of hyperlocal and international impact, and educational programs reflecting the diversity of Queens and New York City. Changing exhibitions present the work of emerging and established artists, both local and global, that often explore contemporary social issues, as well as the rich history of its site. In November 2013, the Museum reopened with an expanded footprint of 105,000 square feet, a soaring skylit atrium, a suite of daylight galleries, 9 artist studios, and flexible event space. The Museum works outside its walls through engagement initiatives ranging from multilingual outreach and educational opportunities for adult immigrants, to a plethora of community led art and activism projects. The Museum’s educational programming connects with schoolchildren, teens, families, seniors as well as those individuals with physical and mental disabilities. The Queens Museum is located on property owned in full by the City of New York, and its operation is made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

The Museum’s hours are: ThursdaySunday: 11am – 5p.m. Admission to the Museum is by suggested donation: $8 for adults, $4 for seniors, Free for children 18 and under. For general visitor information, please visit or call 718-592- 9700.

The City Reliquary Museum & Civic Organization preserves the everyday artifacts that connect visitors to the past and present of New York City. It was originally established as an apartment window display in 2002 at the corner of Grand and Havemeyer Streets and relocated to 370 Metropolitan Avenue in 2006. The Reliquary also hosts public events that invite neighbors and visitors to meet, exchange ideas, and celebrate the diversity of our city.

Location: 370 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211; Hours: Thursday–Sunday, 12pm–6pm. Admission: $5 general; $4 college students/educators/seniors; children 12 & under free. Website: Phone: 718.RU.CIVIC (782.4842)

7th Annual Panorama Challenge

March 7th
Doors at 6pm | Quiz at 7pm
At The Queens Museum of Art
$15 – includes a free beer (for those of drinking age). All proceeds support the City Reliquary Museum.
Buy Tickets Now!

Panorama of the City of New York at the Queens Museum
Participate in the world’s only geographical trivia-based game night at the world’s largest panorama – The Panorama of the City of New York!

The Panorama Challenge involves questions about assorted city landmarks, bridges, neighborhoods, parks and more. Identify the most locations and your team will have their name etched on the trophy at the Queens Museum!

Your Quizmaster

Returning for his fourth year as Quizmaster, Jonathan Turer has devised 30 all new questions! Some of this year’s categories include: “I heard it on the 1010 WINS traffic report” and “It happened 15/20/25 Years Ago” and “It Happened 30/40/50 Years Ago” So listen to the radio and study up on your history!

The Judges

Our panel of All-Star Judges include

  • Manhattan Borough Historian Michael Miscione
  • The Dean of NYC Tour Guides Lee Gelber
  • NYC Know-It-All Andy Sydor
  • Webmaster and Author of Forgotten-NY Kevin Walsh

Music, Drink and Food

Post-quiz, whilst we wait for the All-Star Judges to tally the scores, there will be an electrifying performance by Batala NYC– New York’s ONLY all-woman Brazilian drum corps!

Our wonderful friends at the Brooklyn Brewery will provide additional tasty beers, available by donation. Sandwiches and snacks will also be available for donation.

And a Shuttle

Free shuttle will be traveling between the Museum and the Mets-Willets Point 7 stop, both before and after the event.