Life in New York City can be so over-stimulating that it’s easy to overlook the civic details we encounter every day. Take, for instance, the MetroCard. You can immediately identify it in your wallet as the yellow rectangle of flimsy plastic with blue lettering. But you may not know (or remember) that the colors on the original MetroCard were reversed—yellow letters on a blue field. These are the kind of arcane factoids that titillate the folks at the City Reliquary Museum and Civic Organization, who proudly display a blue MetroCard from 1994 next to myriad old subway tokens.
Located between a bar and a pizzeria at 370 Metropolitan Avenue, with a yellow awning overhead, the outside of the City Reliquary looks more like a neighborhood bodega than a museum of New York artifacts. Inside, however, past the ka-chunk-chunk of an antique turnstile, the space reveals itself to be a curiosity cabinet on a shop-size scale.