Best reason to start working on your rubber-band ball (2008)

City Reliquary

To most, a museum exhibit called "Selzter Bottles of Brooklyn" sounds about as appealing as, say, a two-part PBS series on cinder blocks. But in their lovingly detailed displays at Williamsburg's City Reliquary, the worn-out bottles, and other such seemingly unremarkable detritus, shine like rare jewels excavated from a long-gone New York. Which is exactly what they are to Dave Herman, who started the tiny museum's collection of five-borough artifacts in his living room window nearby. There, he displays various oddball memorabilia—dentures found in Dead Horse Bay, a water sample from the East River, a fortune-teller figurine from Coney Island—for passersby to ooh, eww, and ahh over (Herman has since moved, but the exhibit remains). Community interest grew, and neighbors started donating their amassed trinkets—one couple even lent their extensive fountain-pen collection. Now, for 50 cents, visitors to the museum on Metropolitan Avenue can take in tons of local ephemera—everything from a rail spike from the Brooklyn trolley to an elderly sign for the Bay Ridge Rollerskating Rink. In the museum's gift shop, a sign next to the $1 figurines of deer, fish, and seals urges visitors to "start your own glass menagerie." Go ahead, the Reliquary will happily make room.


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