A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 09, 2004
Miss Subways
"Miss Subways" was a beauty contest (actually, talent agencies ran the show and it wasn't much of a "contest") that was featured in the New York subways from 1941-1976. The subway system has its 100th anniversary in 2004, and the New York Post has brought the contest back, at least for one time.

Ellen Hart ( a former Miss Subways in the 1950s) runs Ellen's Stardust Diner, 1650 Broadway at West 51st Street. Photos of various Miss Subways can be seen at the restaurant.

"Miss Subway" was originally the name of a horse that ran "On the Big Apple" and elsewhere, from 1935.

The Transit Authority ran a "Mr. Courtesy" campaign in the 1960s, but the men just didn't generate the same interest.

29 May 1935, New York Times, pg. 30:
Miss Subway.
(The name of a horse - ed.)

30 May 1935, Chicago Tribune, pg. 18:
Miss Subway.
(The name of a horse - ed.)

19 September 1961, New York Times, pg. 20:
Transit Riders to Pick
System's Mr. COurtesy

Riders of the city's subways and buses will be asked to vote for "Mr. Courtesy" starting today. Mr. Courtesy will be a station agent, conductor, transit policeman or bus driver who has won the esteem of passengers.

A picture of Mr. Courtesy will be displayed in buses and subway cars. If the plan catches on Mr. Courtesy may become as well known as Miss Subways.

19 December 1979, New York Times, pg. C2:
Although the Transit Authority axed the beauty contest in 1976, Miss Subways is still of mystic significance to many in our city.

Posted by Barry Popik
Transportation • Saturday, October 09, 2004 • Permalink

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