The beginnings of the City Reliquary date to 2002, when founder Dave Herman (born 1976) began displaying objects in the windows of his ground-floor Williamsburg apartment. People walking by were drawn to the odd array of local artifacts, and Herman received object donations and loans from people who wanted to share their own odd items with others in the community. As the collection grew, Herman moved the repository to a location on Metropolitan Avenue. The new museum opened on April 1, 2006.
Dave Herman grew up in Orlando, Fla., home to Disney World and had little interest in the “false history” of Epcot Center. This upbringing may led him to his adoration of all things New York. “I grew up in this culture where there was no appreciation of history,” he said to the NY Times. “It was all fiberglass coating on the surface. New York has real history. In New York, it’s not faked. If it looks old, it is old.” Mr. Herman is so devoted to New York history that his back is covered from neck to waist with a tattooed image of the Brooklyn Bridge and a rendering of the General Slocum, the steamboat that caught fire on the East River in 1904, killing more than 1,000.
The Reliquary is fun, inexpensive ($7) and a great way to spend an hour in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It is located at 370 Metropolitan Ave Brooklyn, NY 11211 near the corner of Havenmeyer. Hours are Thurs. – Sun., Noon – 6 PM.