Save the City Reliquary
- Time Out New York, 02/18/2010

Tucked away on a hipper-than-thou stretch of Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg sits the City Reliquary Museum (370 Metropolitan Ave at Havemeyer St, Brooklyn; cityreliquary.org), a small storefront crammed with New York City artifacts—from dentures pulled out of Dead Horse Bay, the body of water near several glue factories that was used as the city dump until the 1950s, to Jackie Robinson ephemera and Statue of Liberty postcards. “You could dedicate your life to learning about New York and you’d never run out of stuff,” says City Reliquary founder Dave Herman.

But the quirky institution has been hit hard by the recession. Though the museum was earmarked for two grants totaling $33,000 by City Council Member Diana Reyna,the city hasn’t yet given the organization a penny. With their grant paperwork mired in the “vat of city bureaucracy,” as Herman calls it, the Reliquary is now focusing on short-term fund-raising efforts. The museum is hoping to raise $20,000 by March 31 to help the all-volunteer staff keep the doors open for four more months.

You can help the cause by bidding for an evening with an attractive man in uniform: On Thursday 18, the museum is holding a Fire Sale—a date auction of 12 of New York’s Bravest from fire companies in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn (Knitting Factory Brooklyn, 361 Metropolitan Ave at Havemeyer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 347-529-6696; 6–10pm, $20). The winning bidders (and their dates) will be treated to a three-course dinner and wine at comfort-food joint Lodge. The Fire Sale is tied to the Reliquary’s “Company Journals of the Southside Firehouse” exhibition, which features log books on daily life at Engine 221/Hook & Ladder Company 104, dating back to 1903. The exhibit is one example of why saving this museum is so important: “The City Reliquary is the step beyond wearing an I ♥ NY T-shirt,” says Herman. “It preserves the ever-disappearing character of our neighborhoods, while contributing to that character by being, in itself, a unique destination.”