City Reliquary Marks World Series with New York Mets Exhibition

Mets fans pay tribute at a shrine to the old Shea Stadium.

City Reliquary, Shea Stadium Memorabilia from the Rashbaum Collection. Photo: City Reliquary.

New York Mets fan desperate to turn the tide in the World Series (the Kansas City Royals currently lead two games to none) may want to make a pilgrimage to Brooklyn’s City Reliquary, a small museum dedicated to enshrining New York city’s past, for their current exhibition showcasing artifacts from Shea Stadium, the team’s former home.

“Shea Stadium was the site of the Mets’ World Series wins in 1969 and 1986, but the fragments displayed here radiate the energy of every past victory and defeat that unfolded under the eyes of loyal fans,” Sarah Celentano, the museum’s assistant manager, writes artnet News in an e-mail. She continues, “These objects from Shea Stadium won’t only remind viewers of the site where the Mets once played; they’ll also elicit memories of experiences there and the emotion inherent in being a Mets fan.”

One common emotion being heartbreak, as Mets fans know all too well.

Shea Stadium. Photo: Stadium Page.

Shea Stadium.
Photo: Courtesy of Stadium Page.

Between 1964 and its demolition in 2008, Shea Stadium was home not only to the Mets, but also to the Yankees in the 1974 and ’75 seasons, and to the New York Jets until 1983. The Beatles memorably played the first stadium concert at Shea in 1965, and Pope John Paul II delivered mass to 52,000 fans there in 1979.

The exhibition features a collection of loaned memorabilia from the Rashbaums, a couple who Celentano describes as “two long-time fans whose home is essentially a museum dedicated to the Mets and Shea Stadium.”

The Rashbaums initially approached the Reliquary in the hopes of acquiring some of the institution’s own Mets artifacts, which include an old Willets Point/Shea Stadium sign. (Mets memorabilia has been known to find success on the auction block, such as a 1960s bullpen cart that sold for over $100,000 at Sotheby’s this spring.)

“We don’t sell anything from our collection, but it offered a great opportunity to connect on our shared love for the Mets, the cultural import of loving that team, and how powerful the Shea objects are,” said Celentano.

The exhibition includes a bench from the home bullpen, a ticket taker’s box from 1964, a ramp sign featuring the Mr. Met mascot proudly bearing four national pennant flags representing the team’s national league championships, and bases that “still have field dust on them,” said Celentano.

“We’re very interested in the human tendency to treat everyday, practical objects as special, even quasi-divine,” she added. “The ‘shrine’ to Shea entirely fits with the City Reliquary mission of celebrating the power of objects that come from an irretrievable sites.”

New York Met Daniel Murphy engaging in post season heroics.  Photo: New York Mets.

New York Met Daniel Murphy engaging in post season heroics.
Photo: Courtesy of the New York Mets.

To further celebrate the occasion, the Reliquary is hosting a game four viewing party and Halloween costume party on Saturday. Mets-themed costumes, such as a blonde Thor-esque wig inspired by pitcher Noah Syndergaard, are highly encouraged, and will be rewarded with prizes. The party is free, and the Reliquary will be selling ballpark snacks and beverages.

There is currently one major omission from the City Reliquary exhibition, in that there aren’t any objects honoring infielder Daniel Murphy. The hero of the first two rounds of the playoffs, Murphy made his major league debut at Shea back in 2009.

According to Celentano, this may soon be rectified: “The Rashbaums have offered to add an object to the display: a Murphy flag from the CitiField souvenir shop that their nephew bought for $3 back in 2009 [from] the bargain bin!”

Shea Stadium Memorabilia from the Rashbaum Collection” is on view at the City Reliquary, at 370 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, October 8–November 29, 2015.

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