From 1941 until the late 1970s, more than 200 women wore the crown of Miss Subways.
"It was the first integrated beauty pageant in the country," said Sarah Celentano, assistant director of the City Reliquary. "The first black Miss Subways was elected in 1947."
The contests were sponsored by the New York Subway Advertising agency and meant to get people to look up at ads while they rode the trains.
Today's version of the contest is trying to get people to look down, underground, at the problems facing commuters.
"As everybody knows we're in the summer of hell right now and so the Miss Subways competition is meant to draw attention to people who are trying to improve the system," Celentano.
The City Reliquary partnered with the Riders Alliance to bring back the contest.
The event, best described as a talent show, will serve as a fundraiser for both organizations.
And while the 2017 version will pay homage to the original competition, it will be open to all genders.
"Just as the original competition stressed personality, creativity, we're also looking for someone who can impress us with a representation or defense of their preferred subway line."
Celentano says she expects to see everything from traditional song and dance to speed knitting during the event.
Ultimately she expects the winner of Miss Subways 2017 to stand out from the rush-hour crowd.
"A creative costume could perhaps sway the judges."
Registration for contestants is open until Sept. 5. To enter e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with:
- a short essay telling explaining why you want to be Miss Subways 2017, what your favorite
subway line is, and why it inspires/enrages/enchants you;
- a detailed description of your proposed performance. Show your love for our
subterranean system through song, dance, poetry, or any other talent: Rubik's cube
solving, hula hooping, speed knitting, playing the sousaphone...surprise us!;
- a photo.
The event takes place Sept. 28 at the City Reliquary at 7 p,m. You can purchase tickets at http://www.cityreliquary.org/miss_subways17/.