While you won’t find large museums in Williamsburg Brooklyn, the neighborhood does have its share of unique galleries and shops, as well as a small museum dedicated to New York City history, called The City Reliquary. This charming, apartment-sized museum showcases various collectibles like old subway tokens, Worlds Fair memorabilia, and remnants from landmark buildings. The items are arranged in an eclectic style, making you feel like you are poking around an old curiosity shop. In a recent visit, I noticed an intact rat skeleton grouped with other treasures excavated from the subway.
In addition to its ever-growing permanent collection, the museum has interesting temporary exhibits on little-known NYC history. Their current show, “Strong Backs, Weak Minds: The Saga of The Coney Island Velodrome, ” is about 1930s bicycle racing in Brooklyn’s Coney Island. They also host cultural programs and events throughout the year, like their Film Noir screenings Thursday nights in July.
On your way out, stop by the shop and buy your own NYC-themed souvenirs designed by local artists. Friendly volunteer staffers are on hand to ring in your order on an old-fashioned cash register while offering historical antidotes on some of the museum’s unusual pieces.