Reliquary Browsing


It seems like only yesterday that New Yorkers rang out the old/ rang in the new but, thankfully, that day will never come for the City Reliquary. Quite unassumingly situated at 370 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, this little storefront museum is a cornucopia of New York City memorabilia; engaging bits and curious fragments of this city’s cultural and infrastructural history crammed into two small rooms.

Visitors to the Reliquary will find an eclectic assortment of literally everything and anything related to NYC; from the expected to the unexpected. Old subway tokens to pieces of the subway itself, old maps and postcards, mementos of both New York World’s Fairs (1939 and 1964), and a miscellanea so on and so forth of such artifacts…including honest to goodness junk.

When my wife and I were there, casually browsing around, we spotted a most noteworthy piece of junk. The ruins of a birthday cake (or what looked like a birthday cake), with hula girl ornament on the top, sitting in a corner on its last crumb. DickensMiss Havisham would’ve been thrilled by such delectable degeneration: the frosting had long since assumed a decaying shade of brown, feebly holding together the cracked and crumbling remains that it coated.

A guy at the Reliquary explained to us that the extremely exhausted cake once sat in the display case of a nearby bakery; this particular establishment habitually displaying cakes way beyond overtime and expiration dates. But, a couple of years prior to our encounter with it, the bakery finally realized that the cake had overstayed its displayable usefulness and had to go…going from bakery display to museum exhibit.

Nevertheless, be it a piece of history or a piece of junk, if it’s NYC-related, you’ll probably find what you were looking for (or even not looking for) at the City Reliquary; if not, you’ll probably stumble upon something just as good if not better.