Tag Archive | Famous Original Ray’s

A Fun Visit to the City Reliquary Museum!

City Reliquary Museum Exterior
All Photos By Gail

Summer is in full swing and everybody is looking for stuff to do with their time off.  Today, I want tell you about a place you can go where you will have so much fun your head will explode. If you get excited by learning about the history of New York City, and love to have fun adventures that don’t cost very much, the City Reliquary Museum is a place you simply must visit! Located just two stops off the L train, and a short walk, into Brooklyn from Manhattan (for easy reference, it’s located directly across the street from the Knitting Factory), a visit to this local gem of sweet nostalgia is one of the best bargains in existence. Naomi and I had the chance to visit last month on a day that was somewhat overcast and drizzly, and we had all kinds of crazy fun.

City Reliquary Museum Door

Five Dollars

Best of all, admission is just Five Dollars! What a bargain! The City Reliquary Museum not only collects relics and ephemera from NYC life in the five boroughs, but they also feature special exhibits that put a keen focus on the minutia that makes New York one of the greatest places to visit, and live, on earth. Here are some of the things we saw and enjoyed during our visit!

City Reliquary Museum Turnstile

Once you enter the Museum from the front room, which is home to an adorable little gift shop that you’re going to want to spend some time browsing before you head out, you’ll have two more rooms to explore that are just packed with cool stuff.

Interior View

In the first room, you will be captivated by wall-to-wall and floor to ceiling collections, displays and exhibits of everything from tributes to New York City landmarks, two remembrances of famous businesses, NYC Baseball teams, and on to icons of the transit system and anything else you can imagine that it has something to do with life here in the City that Never Sleeps.

City Reliquary Museum Room 1

Locals will recognize the red and green globes above as markers found at the entrances to many subway stations. I love how they’ve incorporated them right into the design of the room.

Subway Door

Here is a adjoining-car door (and what looks like an ancient subway route map as well!) taken from a long-retired subway train.

Bus Stop Sign

You can still find bus stop route markers like this at stops around town. I love how it just seems to be discarded in a corner, like you’re stumbling upon some kind of archaeological dig.

Foot Vibrator

Have you ever used one of these? It reminds me of a re-created historical relic that you might find at Disneyland in an exhibit about Americana Kitsch.

Statue of Liberty Postcard Collection

This collection of vintage postcards depicting the Statue of Liberty will give you an excellent idea of the attention to detail that’s paid to each separate display over every square inch of the museum. The rooms may be small, but you could spend several hours in here.

Al Criscillo's Barber Shop

Maybe you were once a patron of Al Criscillo’s Barber Shop, which was located at Metropolitan Avenue & Humboldt Street in Brooklyn — not that far from where the museum now sits. If so, you can relive your happy memories of time spent in his chair when you take a peek inside this nostalgia-inducing diorama.

Al Criscillo's Barber Shop

Photos of Al with some of his customers are preserved in album adjacent to the diorama. It is extremely sweet.

History of Burlesque Signage

Learn about the History of Burlesque in NYC in this compact exhibit that ls about the size of a Phone Booth.

History of Burlesque

Stuffed Alligator with Pizza

Stuffed Alligator on the ceiling enjoys a slice!

Bathroom

Even the Restroom is is like a tiny museum inside a museum.

Bathroom Detail

Talk about economic use of available real estate!

Pizza Box Chronicles Exhibit

The museum also hosts rotating Special Exhibits, and currently there are two different ones you can see. The first is called The Pizza Box Chronicles, which pays tribute to New York City’s Love Affair with Pizza!

NYC Inspired Pizza Boxes

There is a pretty impressive collection of pizza boxes, including New York–inspired pizza boxes from restaurants not even located in the state!

NYC Inspired Pizza Boxes

Ray's Pizza Box

Get educated by reading all about the legend of Famous Original Ray’s Pizza!

Famous Ray's Story

You can also watch a loop of film clips from various movies where the characters talk about pizza, eat pizza or talk about eating pizza. Fun!

Pizza Wall

Community Collections

The second Special Exhibit which was featured when we visited is dedicated to a private collection of Joseph Kopitz, who collects Miniature Souvenir Buildings.

Souvenir Building Collection

What a cool Collection! Apparently, Joe has been amassing a small empire of New Your City real estate for the past 30 years. His collection includes such well-known buildings as the Empire State building, the Chrysler building, the Woolworth building, the Pan Am building, Grande Central Terminal and many others. He is even added buildings from all over the world to his vast holdings of buildings that average only from 3 inches to 8 inches tall. It was very generous of him to share his collection with the museum, so that others can also enjoy it.

Souvenir Building Collection Detail

After you’ve browsed the museum’s two main rooms, be sure and head out to explore the backyard area, which is where they host community events from time to time, such as film screenings, as well as being a place to store artifacts that don’t quite fit into the museum.

Outside Yard

Outdoor Bar

Take a look at this cool bar.

Outdoor Bar Detail
Brooklyn Lager, Naturally

Backyard Shrine

Look at this beautiful shrine made out of old bottles and cement, where the Statue of Liberty is ensconced in an old bathtub. Amazing.

Coconut Head

View of Building from Yard

There’s a nice collection of well-kept picnic tables back here, and maybe they would let you sit there and have a snack, but you would want to ask first.

P1100902

We had the best adventure at the City Reliquary Museum, and I’m going to suggest you put it on your list of local sites not to be missed! if you have friends coming in from out of town be sure to bring them here also.

Gift Shop
Exit Through The Gift Shop

The City Reliquary Museum is Located at 370 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211. Hours are Thurs – Sun: 12 Noon – 6:00 PM (Except Major Holidays). To get the most up to date information, please call (718)782-4842.

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Prince Street Pizza Serves Up a Delicious Slice With a Side of Local History

Prince Street Pizza Front Case
All Photos By Anne Raso

Here in NYC, we have a plethora of Pizza places going by the name of Ray’s, Famous Ray’s, Famous Original Ray’s, and endless variations on that ubiquitous moniker; it’s become a joke that even worked its way into the storyline of a Seinfeld episode. But the original Ray’s Pizza, the one that started all, was a joint located in Soho called Original Ray’s of Prince Street, which was first operated by Luchese crime family member Ralph Cuomo. Despite the checkered reputation of its owner, Ray’s was known for its fantastic Italian food and warm family atmosphere. Everybody went to Ray’s. Culinary history runs deep in the storefront restaurant at 27 Prince Street, and a new chapter to the story began on January 4th, when neighborhood local Frank Morano launched Prince Street Pizza in the same location where his family often ate Sunday meals together while he was growing up. Frank is an affable and customer service-oriented man; an already seasoned restaurateur who was seemingly born to contribute to the Pizza-making history of this particular address. Last summer, The Worley Gig proclaimed Donatella restaurant of Chelsea as the home of New York City’s best pizza, but we are now suggesting that, even if your current ‘hood has a pizza place on every corner, Prince Street Pizza could easily become the destination for your next slice – it’s that good!

Prince Street Pizza Rice Ball Stuffed with with Meat and Peas
Sicilian Rice Ball

Prince Street Pizza features a small but keenly focused menu offering a selection of unique starters, fried to order calzones and pizza options in both the Neapolitan (round pie) and traditional, thicker crust Sicilian (square pie) – the latter of which has spawned the in-house specialty slice known as the SoHo Square (Original Catch Phrase: “No Other Square Can Compare™”). Before delving into the hearty pizza options, we enjoyed a sampling of Prince Street’s amazing deep-fried Rice Balls in each of three varieties: Stuffed Prosciutto Balls (with Ricotta, Mozzarella and finely chopped Prosciutto), Neapolitan (gooey with melted Mozzarella and Romano Cheeses) and the Sicilian Rice Ball stuffed with a mixture of Chopped Beef and Peas in a Marinara sauce. Frank provided us with a selection of the savory sweet homemade marinara sauce and the creamy vodka sauce for dipping, which added to the comfort-food aspect of enjoying these crispy treats. The rice balls were a bargain, with an order of four being only $1.20 (for the Sicilian or Prosciutto) or 99 cents for the cheese only variety, so there is no reason not to start out your meal with an order. Dipping sauces (in 5 varieties) are .75 / .99 cents each. We were looking forward to trying the Crazy Calabrese (broccoli rabe & garlic wrapped in a Chinese egg roll and served with sweet chili sauce) but they were, sadly, not available on the day of our visit (providing us with a reason to go back!)

Prince Street Pizza Humble Ham Calzone
Humble Ham Calzone

Excited to try the Calzones, we chose the Humble Ham (just $7.00, wow!), which was huge and easily shared among three people. Overstuffed with tender, thinly sliced Ham, Mozzarella and a heavy curd Ricotta, the cheese melts and blends together to such a creamy consistency that my dining companions were convinced they were tasting a Béchamel sauce. All calzones, including Paulie’s Pepperoni (Stuffed with Cheese and Spicy Pepperoni, $7.00) and the classic ‘Cheese Please’ Calzone ($6.00) are served with a side of Marinara for dipping, or ask Frank for the sauce of your choice.

Prince Street Pizza Spicy Spring Pepperoni Sicilian Slice
The Spicy Spring SoHo Square

The feast continued with a fresh from the oven selection of Prince Street’s signature pizza slices. Named for neighborhood streets, the SoHo Squares include the Prince Perfection (Fresh Mozzarella with secret sauce) the Mercer Margarita (thin crust pizza, marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil and garlic), the Broadway Breadcrumb (a cheeseless pie with seasoned breadcrumbs and tomato sauce) and the Spicy Spring (Fra Diavalo sauce, spicy custom-sliced pepperoni and fresh mozzarella). The Fra Diavolo sauce on our spicy Spring Square was tantalizing to our taste buds but not painfully hot, and it provided the perfect base for the custom-sliced pepperoni that curls up the edges and gets crispy in the oven. The crust on these pies is crisp on the bottom with a light fluffiness under the sauce and has just the right amount of chewiness. It’s easy to down several slices and feel like you have room for more. SoHo Squares are available by the slice for $3.50 /$3.75 or a whole pie for $24 / $26.

Prince Street Pizza Smoked Mozzarella Slice
Neapolitan Slice Topped with Fresh Smoked Mozzarella

Prince Street Pizza also features four Neapolitan pizza options including an old-school Marinara & Mozz called the Original Prince, the Boozy Broome (Vodka sauce, fresh mozzarella) and the Green Machine, topped with Pesto sauce, Cheese and Gaeta Olives. We enjoyed the fragrant smoked fresh mozzarella on our Fancy Prince slice, which you can ask for in place of the non-smoked variety. Again, the thin crust on these 20″ pies is crispy and light, so you can indulge in a few slices without literally feeling weighed down. The pizza here is absolutely, eye-rollingly delicious. Dare we say it? The Best in the City! Neapolitan pizzas are $2.95 / $3.75 per slice, depending on toppings, and $18 / $26 per 20” Pie. Additional toppings such as Anchovies, Italian Sausage and Sautéed Onions with Green & Red Bell Peppers can be added to your pizza for a nominal charge.

The restaurant is intimate – seating only a total of twelve customers (at two counters, one on either side of the room) at one time, but they do a brisk take-out business and offer a limited delivery radius. Prince Street Pizza also offers “curb side pick up,” allowing customers to phone in their orders, then drive or bike up to the storefront and have their order brought out to them. The complete menu can be viewed in its entirety at This Link, so get your order ready now!

Prince Street Pizza is located at 27 Prince St (Between Mott & Elizabeth Streets) in Soho, New York. Open late, phone (212) 966-4100 for specific store hours and more information.