Posts Tagged ‘beauty pageants of the 20th century’

Beauty queens of the New York City subway

March 3, 2010

Today’s subway ads are a depressing lot: medical malpractice law firms, Dr. Zizmor, MTA warnings about the dangers of traveling between cars. 

Not so from 1941 to 1976. Back then, one young New York woman per month was crowned “Miss Subways,” her name and face plastered above the seats on thousands of subway cars for millions of commuters to see.

An ad agency, not the MTA, nominated the winners; residents then voted for a top candidate over the phone. The winners came from all backgrounds and boroughs and comprised a surprisingly diverse group over the years.

All had a few things in common: they were wholesome, had aspirations . . . and rode the subway, of course. Some information on what became of some winners can be found here.

Perhaps a revival of Miss Subways should duke it out with a new version of Miss Rheingold, the beauty pageant that gripped New Yorkers in the 1940s and 1950s.