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City Reliquary Exhibit Explores NYC's Donut History

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There’s an exhibit in Williamsburg’s City Reliquary that is sure to hit donut lovers’ sweet spot. NY1’s Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.

There's a lot to keep an eye on at the City Reliquary’s new exhibit, which traces the rise of the donut back to 1673.

Bill Scanga is the President of the non-profit museum housed in a former bodega in Williamsburg. The exhibit is the brainchild of one of his former volunteers, Julie Thompson, a blogger who tweets under the handle @donutgrrl.

“She's very, very, very, very interested in the donut and knows a lot more about donuts than most of us,” said Scanga.

Well maybe not more than Augustus Neamonitis, who works with his sister at Mike's Donuts, one of nine present day donut purveyors photographed for the exhibit. Their father opened the popular 5th Avenue spot 37 years ago and it's somewhat of a museum in its own right.

“All the tools, everything about the store is authentic that started out 40 years ago. we haven't changed anything,” said Dina Rosvoglou.

“We still make them the old way: hand cut, each one, one at a time,” said Neamonitis.

Which isn't to say the donut hasn't evolved over time. The exhibit invites you to peruse old menus and coffee cups from bygone establishments or feast your eyes on sumptuous photos of more modern day fare with flavors like blood orange and strawberry jalapeno.

“They have one called Paris Time which has, it's got lavender and vanilla and I think pistachio in it. It’s like, it's amazing,” said Anna Grant, the exhibit’s photographer.

Sadly there are no samples here, but whether you're a fan of the tried and true treats:

“I like the jelly donut. That's always my favorite,” said Neamonitis.

Or for looking for something a little more couture, attendees will find plenty to sink their teeth into.

“The joy of this is that there's a donut for everyone, so someone who comes to visit the show can learn some history about donuts and kind of see what's happened present day and what happening sort of down the pike as well. You can kind of forsee the fun things that are happening,” said Grant.

There's a $5 suggested donation to enter the museum which is open from noon to 6 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays.

The exhibit runs until February. For more information, go to www.cityreliquary.org.

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