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For thirty five years, between 1941 and 1976, a company called New York Subways Advertising ran a city-wide beauty contest. Any New Yorker and female, and between the ages of 14 to 30 could enter it, but to see the contestants and the winners, one had to go underground and ride the transit.

The Miss Subways was not a typical pageant. Each month, women across New York City mailed in their photos and biographies to John Robert Powers’ modeling agency, and the lucky winners had their photos printed in black and white and plastered all over the subway. The photos were accompanied by a blurb detailing their interests and career aspiration.

Miss Subways

Former Miss Subways gather for a reunion.


© Amusing Planet, 2020.



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