Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 22, 2012.

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A book that combines compelling stories and visuals, examining the lives of the women who reigned over the NYC Subways.

Angela Vorsteg  Norris Miss Subways March 1950
Angela Vorsteg Norris Miss Subways March 1950

Please Make Meet Miss Subways Book possible! This book is being published by Seapoint Press and will be the subject of an important exhibition at the Transit Museum in Brooklyn New York in November 2012. Your contributions will help us to complete the work so this can happen! 

Miss Subways is sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts and all donations are tax deductible.

Enid Berkowitz Schwarzbaum Miss Subways July 1946
Enid Berkowitz Schwarzbaum Miss Subways July 1946

What happened to Hunter College student Enid Berkowitz, who was in 1946 “plugging for a B.A, but would settle for an M.R.S.”? Or F.B.I. clerk Eleanor Nash, who was in 1960 “young, beautiful and expert with a rifle”?

New York-based artist Fiona Gardner and journalist Amy Zimmer were determined to find out.

Berkowitz and Nash were two of the nearly 200 women who became Miss
Subways between the contest’s launch in 1941 and its end in 1976. With their pictures and aspirations printed on nearly 9,000 posters throughout the transit
system, they were New York City’s hometown beauty queens. Part collective memoir, part cultural history, "Meet Miss Subways" will be the first book to examine the contest’s significance—both personal and historical .

Gardner first encountered the Miss Subways contest when it was reprised as Ms. Subways in 200X. No records of the contest existed, but a large collection of the posters lived on at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, and working from telling details in the posters, Gardner became something of a sleuth to track down the winners. 40 of them agreed to be photographed and interviewed about where their lives have taken them and whether they’ve lived up to their dreams. The project gives the women a new platform for their perspectives on their beauty queen days and the years in between.

Gardner’s sumptuously colored portraits invite us to ponder the fantasies of youth and the stark realities of growing older. Zimmer’s interviews are an intimate look at the extraordinary moments in ordinary lives. Yet the work bridges more than a simple visual comparison and curiosity between then and now. With the common themes that arrive in the interviews and an introductory essay exploring the social history of the contest, the book offers a lens for
examining the changing role of women in American life, civil rights struggles, and even the subway system itself.

The project, sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, will be the subject of a major exhibition in 2012 at the New York Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn. The goal is to launch a185-page book printed on 9" x 11.5" sized pages as a companion to the show.

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    Our sincere gratitude and emails updating you on our project.

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    16 backers

    A colorful Miss Subways brochure about our project from our show at Rush Arts Gallery.

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    One 8x10 print from the project.

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    75 backers

    A copy of the miss subways book signed by us. Please include 8 dollars for shipping, unless you live in NYC and would like to pick it up.

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    38 backers

    A copy of the miss subways book signed by us. Please include 8 dollars for shipping, unless you live in NYC and would like to pick it up. Plus one 8x10 print from the project.

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    A copy of the miss subways book signed by us. Plus one 8x10 print from the project. As well as invite to the launch party at Ellen's Stardust Diner in Midtown Manhattan! Please included 12 dollars for international shipping.

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    7 backers Limited (18 left of 25)

    All of the rewards of the 95 dollar level, as well as a hand stitched Miss Subways sash used in one of the photo shoots. Please included 12 dollars for international shipping.

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    7 backers Limited (5 left of 12)

    All the rewards of the 95 dollar level, Plus your own private tour of the Miss Subways show at the Transit Museum for up to 4 people lead by Fiona Gardner. Please include 12 dollars for international shipping.

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    5 backers Limited (1 left of 6)

    An 11x 14 limited addition print, a copy of the miss subways book signed by us, an invite to the book launch party, and your own private tour of the Miss Subways show at the Transit Museum for up to 4 people lead by Fiona Gardner. Please included 12 dollars for international shipping.

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    2 backers Limited (1 left of 3)

    20x24 limited addition print from the Miss Subways series, a private tour of the Miss Subways show at the Transit Museum for up to 4 people lead by Fiona Gardner. a signed copy of the book, and invite to the book launch party. Please included 12 dollars for international shipping.

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    30x30 limited addition print from the Miss Subways series, a private artist talk with Fiona Gardner at your home for you and your guests ( in the New York area) a signed copy of the book, and invite to book launch party.

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Funding period

- (30 days)