It’s a fire sale to save the City Reliquary

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The storefront museum that celebrates Brooklyn’s underdog spirit with exacting curatorial detail and a passionate devotion to artifacts large and small may be in danger of closing.

The Williamsburg-based City Reliquary Museum, which has featured exhibits such as “Miss Subways Past and Present” and hosted events including the Miss G Train pageant, Bicycle Fetish Day, and the Havemeyer Sugar Sweets Festival, needs $60,000 or else it will shut.

City Reliquary founder Dave Herman sent a personal appeal to friends and supporters on Jan. 24 to inform them of the museum’s financial situation. In the letter, Herman characterized the moment as “a scary, yet decisive, turning point” in the museum’s history.

“For the four years since opening our public museum, we have managed to tread water just enough to pay the rent from one month to the next,” wrote Herman. “However, we have finally come to the point when this is no longer possible.”

In its last-ditch effort, the museum is pushing forward with an aggressive fundraising drive, coinciding with a brand new exhibit, “Company Journals of the Southside Firehouse,” curated by Firefighter Pat D’Emic of Williamsburg’s Hook & Ladder Company 104.

The museum’s goal is to raise $20,000 by March 31, which will cover the cost of a part-time assistant. To start, the museum is hosting a benefit concert and “fire sale” at the Knitting Factory on Feb. 18, which will feature a date auction with genuine, in the flesh, New York City firefighters.

“It’s a real-life opportunity to take one of New York’s Bravest out on the town for a night of romance and adventure,” the museum said in its announcement of the fundraiser. “Who knows? They might let you taste their three-alarm chili!”

There will also be a benefit show on St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.

Herman acknowledges that raising tens of thousands of dollars during an economic recession is an uphill battle, but he believes that a museum that “celebrates the city we love” is worth saving.

“It is the living embodiment of our local heritage and hometown pride,” he said. “Losing the City Reliquary would mean not only losing a unique contribution of and for the people of the city, but also the many memories and artifacts of similar unsung landmarks which this museum presents.”

City Reliquary “Fire Sale” fundraiser is on Feb. 18 at 6 pm at The Knitting Factory [361 Metropolitan Ave. at Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg, (347) 529-6696] Tickets are $20. For info, visit

Updated 5:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John from Westminster Road says:
I hope this museum stays open, particulary since Brooklyn is decidely under-museumed. Perhaps it could morph into a full-scaled folk arts museum and gain the support of that community.
Feb. 2, 2010, 11:16 am
lance Bruce from Gayton says:
Ooh, very nice. Are any of the firefighters homosexual?
Feb. 2, 2010, 6:11 pm
lance Bruce from Gayton says:
Oh Gersh - you are saucy little tramp!
Feb. 8, 2010, 3:34 am

Comments closed.

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