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The Miss Subways beauty contest held by New York City's transit system between 1941 and 1976 was wildly popular in its day, even inspiring a character in Leonard Bernstein's "On the Town, but the contests significance as a pop cultural and perhaps proto-feminist phenomenon has been largely overlooked. Writer Amy Zimmer (MC 98) and artist Fiona Gardner are tracking down former Miss Subways for an exhibition scheduled for the New York Transit Museum in 2010. By focusing on the personal stories of former winners as well as the contest's wider historical and social context we are looking at the shifting attitudes of women, work and beauty since World War II.


If you know of any Miss Subways, please let us know. We are also in the midst of a fundraising effort for the show, which is a sponsored project of the New York Foundation for the Arts. NYFA is a 501(c)3, tax exempt organization founded in 1971 to work with the arts community throughout New York State to develop and facilitate programs in all disciplines. NYFA will receive grants on behalf of the Miss Subways Project, ensure the use of grant funds in accordance with the grant agreements and will provide program or financial reports as required. Checks can be made payable to the New York Foundation for the Arts and sent to Amy Zimmer, 65 Ludlow Street, Suite 9, New York, New York 10002. For further information, please e-mail: This email address is hidden from email harvesters via JavaScript .