Miss Subways

We’re Seeking Miss Subways 2024!

Miss Subways 2024
Friday, May 31, 2024, 7-11 PM
Coney Island USA Sideshows by the Seashore Theater (1208 Surf Ave)

We’re looking for our next Miss Subways!

The City Reliquary invites applications to compete in its 2024 Miss Subways event on Friday, May 31, 7:00-11:00 pm. We’re thrilled to partner with Coney Island USA once again at that historic nexus of the weird and whimsical, Coney Island USA’s Sideshows by the Seashore Theater.

This year we’ll also be wishing the New York City subway system a happy 120th birthday!

Are YOU Miss Subways 2024?

This year, contestants will compete in THREE CATEGORIES evaluated according to creativity, originality, and skill:

  • Costume (new for 2024!)
  • Talent
  • Interview

Application open now! Submit by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, May 7, to be considered.

Last year’s performances included a dance by a mad scientist with Doc Ock arms, a dizzying hula hoop routine dedicated to the 7 train, and a subway-inspired rendition of “What I Did For Love” from A Chorus Line. Read more about the 2023 City Reliquary Miss Subways event from Brooklyn Magazine. Previous Miss Subways events received coverage from Atlas Obscura and The New York Times, among other outlets.

About Miss Subways

The City Reliquary Miss Subways updates the historic “Miss Subways” beauty contest held in New York City from 1941 to 1976 (and resurrected once by the MTA in 2004) for the 21st century. The City Reliquary event expands on the progressive history of Miss Subways as the first racially integrated beauty competition and invites contestants of all gender identities, body types, and ages 18+ to apply. The first City Reliquary Miss Subways was presented in 2017.

Contestants representing their subway line of choice compete for the prized title of Miss Subways and the transit tiara. A panel of local celebrity judges will evaluate their costumes, their answers to subway-themed questions and their talent show performance to determine who will represent NYC straphangers as the next Miss Subways!

Miss Subways 2017 Lisa Levy. Photo by Brian Zak for the New York Post.

The winner will join an illustrious lineup. Past winners of the City Reliquary Miss Subways are artist and comedian Lisa Levy (Miss Subways 2017), urban planner Parker MacLure (Miss Subways 2018), musician and director Dylan Mars Greenberg (Miss Subways 2019), and marketing pro by day/costumer and performer by night Harmony Hardcore (Miss Subways 2023–the first since the pandemic). 

Event details for 2024, including the celebrity judge panel, coming soon!

About Coney Island USA

Coney Island USA exists to defend the honor of American popular culture through innovative exhibitions and performances. Presenting and producing exciting new works, our approach is rooted in mass culture and the traditions of P.T. Barnum, dime museums, burlesque, circus sideshows, vaudeville, and Coney Island itself. Preserving and championing a set of uniquely American visual and performing art forms, we seek to create an international forum for cultural preservation and discourse, and where Coney Island represents these impulses, we strive to make it once again a center for live art and entrepreneurial spirit. Learn more at  https://www.coneyisland.com/. Follow on Instagram at @coney.island.usa and on Facebook at @coneyislandusa.

Miss Subways is Back and Coming to Coney Island

After a covid-imposed hiatus, The City Reliquary Museum’s Miss Subways returns! The beloved event, known for highlighting NYC’s underground and outsider talent, will take place on Friday, April 28, 7:00-11:00 p.m., at New York’s historic nexus of the weird and whimsical, Coney Island USA’s Sideshows by the Seashore Theater (1208 Surf Ave., Brooklyn).

As in previous years, this is sure to be a very. wild. time.

Tickets on sale now! Think you got what it takes to compete? Apply here! (Submissions closed as of 4/18.)

Evolving the Miss Subways Tradition for Today’s NYC

In 1948, Thelma Porter became the first African-American Miss Subways.

The City Reliquary’s Miss Subways celebrates the historic “Miss Subways” beauty contest held in New York City from 1941 to 1976 (and resurrected once in 2004) while challenging traditional ideas of beauty. Updated for the 21st century, the event expands on the progressive history of Miss Subways as the first racially integrated beauty competition and is open to contestants of all gender identities, body types, and ages 18+ to compete for the Transit Tiara and the prized title of Miss Subways 2023.

Meet the 2023 Contestants

Lena Horné (she/they, representing the Metropolitan G/L)
I am a dynamic drag entertainer and can be found serenading crowds all over Brooklyn and lower Manhattan with diva anthems of the past and present. I’ve performed at the past two Bushwigs, as well as guest starred in a Billy Porter music video (“Children”).
I’m in my Star-to-Be era, and my heart would grow 3x larger to be able to represent not only the subways, but the beautiful genderqueer individuals all over New York who ride it.


Meghan Sara (she/they, representing the E)

After moving to the Big Apple in 2008 to chase my dreams of an acting career (what else?), I soon realized I could make a living combining my natural desire to perform (Leo Sun/Leo Rising) AND my fascination with NYC history by being a tour guide!
I am the next Miss Subways because I represent unbridled and evangelical enthusiasm for New York City from the ground up, and especially, below.


MX. MAD SCIENTRESS (she/they, representing the R)
I’m a comedian and multidisciplinary theater artist, incorporating my interests in gender, science, visual arts, and evolution into my work. Most importantly, I’m a lifelong New Yorker. Much like the rats Eric Adams thinks he has a chance against, I’m never leaving. And I pride myself on wearing the biggest costume on the subway every Halloween.
I will be a historic winner of the Miss Subways competition, because i will be the first ever DOCTOR SUBWAYS!


Angelina Bowie Waggytail (she/her, representing the F)
Our first-ever canine contestant in Miss Subways history!

Angelina is an opinionated Chihuahua mutt rescued from the deserts of Los Angeles. Her mom, Holly, is the founder of Waggytail Rescue and once saved an aging pit bull from drowning in Prospect Park Lake by administering “mouth-to-snout” resuscitation!


Rob Coover (he/him, representing the Franklin Ave Shuttle)
I live in Brooklyn. I write medical journal articles, turn compost, and rescue injured birds. I have wept on the Q and slept on the A.
I lost twice already. Surely victory is within my grasp.


Chantelle (she/her, representing the B)
I’ve been living in New York City for 6 years, but when you adjust for Covid it feels closer to 10. I’m a cat mom and a cat modeler, an avid and prolific reader, a fitness enthusiast, unapologetic morning person, and a clean freak.
I truly and genuinely enjoy taking the subway, even if it doesn’t love me back. In my opinion, it’s the great equalizer and the one thing that really defines a “true New Yorker.”


Harmony (she/her, representing the 7)

I was born in a subway-less town where tumbleweeds blew, public transportation was scarce, and all we could do was twirl sticks and hoops as we suffered from excessive wait times. Finally, I followed my dreams to the Big Apple, home to America’s greatest transportation system. Now, after ten years and four home subway lines later, I’ve spent a lucky 7 years on the 7 line. I’m ready to represent my unique home with a song medley and hula hoop performance.

Much like the train I represent, I operate at 101% capacity. I’m hardworking and reliable, I never deviate from my track line. I might not always go into Manhattan or run express, but you know exactly where you’ll end up.


Annie Stone (she/her, representing the N/W)
Annie Stone once performed a 45-min set at Rockwood Music Hall with a broken insulin pump. She is fascinated by the endless offerings of this gigantic city, which often results in her overextending herself. During the day, she makes ridiculous things for the Nutter Butter Instagram.
Annie represents the best and worst parts of the city. Totally broke? Absolutely. Laughing about it all the way to the Atlantic Terminal Target? You bet. Electric and exhausted, Annie is always on the move, from one show, project, or fever dream to the next.


Miz E with a Z! (she/her, representing the 7)
Miz E with a Z! co-hosts KNG-TV’s “The Kong Show on TV!” on YouTube and Roku TV and also appears as her own evil twin sister, KNG-TV station manager Madison Lynne. A former child star, she once appeared in a Girl Scout cookie commercial with the Brady Bunch’s Ann B. Davis. A former belly dance instructor and roller derby queen, she now devotes her time to co-hosting the biggest little vaudeville style/comedy variety show on KNG-TV.


Ketriana Yvonne (she/her, representing the A)

Ketriana Yvonne is a native of Brooklyn and producer & host of the award winning “The Ketriana Yvonne Show” airing on BRIC Brooklyn Free Speech TV network. Author of “Sequin Soul Poetry from the Spirit.” Volunteer for the MTA’s volunteer Maskforce during the pandemic. Her award-winning tribute poem for Truly Brooklyn in 2019, “Dear Brooklyn,” is now part of the Intergenerational Community Arts Council Brooklyn Tribute Song “Spread Love the Brooklyn Way.”

I am like the subway, moving with speed, making connections, and making life flow in a forward progression. I am poetry in motion, greeting each stop I arrive at with a memory of a personal story that happened on the train, meeting now-lifelong friends and reconnecting with old ones.


An outrageous competition led by Miss Coney Island

Our event emcee, current reigning Miss Coney Island and local burlesque performer Maggie McMuffin, welcomes us to her kingdom and will preside over the evening’s antics.

Local Celebrity Judges

Local celebrity judges will determine who takes home the Transit Tiara. This year’s panel features some of the best of the city’s artists, performers, historians and daily documentarians:

Tickets on sale now. All proceeds benefit The City Reliquary and Coney Island USA. Space is limited!!!


Are you Miss Subways 2023? – (Submissions closed as of 4/18)

We’re looking for contestants! Miss Subways is gender/size/age-inclusive (18 and up, please). Send us your info to get a chance to take the stage at Coney Island and gain eternal glory! Winner takes the coveted title of Miss Subways 2023 and the Transit Tiara, an original work of art by celebrity judge Reverend Jen Miller!

Miss Subways 2023 Application

Applicants are invited to propose an original performance that captures their relationship with the NYC subway, in all its complexity. “Performance” may be interpreted broadly. Past performances have included an ode to the G train, an experimental soundscape inspired by the Q, songs about subway proselytizers, and an appearance by the Wicked Witch of the Upper East Side and an immigrant from Oz. Apply now!

See you at Sideshows by the Seashore.

Who Will Be Miss Subways 2019?

Perhaps it’s you?

The City Reliquary and Riders Alliance are seeking contestants who believe they should be the public ambassador for the New York City subway in its time of crisis. Despite the potentially “miss”-leading title, we welcome contestants of all gender identities!

TO ENTER: Send the following in an email to [email protected]:

  1. A short essay telling us why you want to be Miss Subways 2019, what your favorite subway line is, and why it inspires/enrages/enchants you;
  2. 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!
  3. A photo and/or short video (< three minutes).

The deadline for entries is SEPTEMBER 29, 2019 at 11:59 pm! Contestants will be notified of their acceptance on a rolling basis.

Competition will be fierce! The more compelling your entry, the greater the chance of being selected as a final contestant!

Miss Subways 2019!

An illustration of the Statue of Liberty wearing a sash reading "Miss SUbways 2019." Art by Ben Wigler.
Art by Ben Wigler.

Tickets are Available Now!

The Third Annual Miss Subways Extravaganza will take place on Thursday, October 3, 2019! We’re returning to Littlefield, 635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn, for this year’s celebration of the weird, wild, frustrating, entertaining, and vital circulatory system that is our city’s subways.

With cascading malfunctions and literal cascades happening all too frequently, it can be difficult to find things to celebrate about our transit system. But let’s not forget the bright spots of the past year in subway news: the L Train shutdown was downgraded from “apocalypse” to merely “difficult.” New York passed a congestion pricing plan which will help speed up city buses and raise additional revenue for transit. A new fare payment system is on its way. And…well…there’s always a chance of seeing a dog in a bag. Our subways need advocates and ambassadors more than ever!

This event serves as a call to arms for subway supporters and lovers of the NYC underground. A modern take on the Miss Subways pageants held in NYC between 1941 and 1976, subway riders of all ages and gender identities are encouraged to participate! In a night of performances spanning the classy, the trashy, the weird, and the whimsical, contestants will demonstrate their devotion to their subway line of choice. But only one can take home the transit tiara! Our panel of distinguished judges, with assistance from the audience, will select this year’s public ambassador, Miss Subways 2019.

All proceeds from the event support the City Reliquary, NYC’s finest cabinet of city curiosities, and Riders Alliance, a membership organization dedicated to winning better transit by organizing bus and subway riders into a powerful political constituency.

If you’re interested in being a contestant in the Miss Subways Extravaganza 2019, click HERE for more information on applying!

Could YOU Be Miss Subways 2018? New Deadline to Enter September 19th!

Are YOU this year’s Miss Subways?

Buy Tickets HERE

We’re looking for contestants who believe they should be the ambassador for the subway in its time of crisis. Despite the potentially “miss”-leading title, we welcome contestants of all gender identitiesThe deadline to enter is September 19th at 11:59 PM. 

TO ENTER: Send the following to [email protected]:

1) a short essay telling us why you want to be Miss Subways 2018, what your favorite subway line is, and why it inspires/enrages/enchants you

2) 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!

3) a photo and/or short video (>3 minutes)

Competition will be fierce! The more compelling your application, the greater the chance of being selected to be a final contestant!

Miss Subways 2018: September 27th!

Purchase Tickets!

$20 general / $15 Reliquary Members

On Thursday, September 27 at 7 PM, the 2018 Miss Subways Pageant returns at Littlefield, 635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn. You might recall that last year we revived this quaint but outdated spectacle and gave it a modern spin. We had so much fun that we’re making it an annual event!

With a wink and a nod to the Miss Subways pageants held in NYC between 1941 and 1976, this event is a call to arms for advocates and lovers of the NYC underground. It’s been another roller coaster year for the NYC subway.  Some good – Fair Fares! and the “Fast Forward” modernization plan – but as we all know: the subway is still a mess, the fixes still need funding, and we have to keep up the pressure.

In a night of performances spanning the classy, the trashy, the weird, and the whimsical, contestants will demonstrate their devotion to their subway line of choice. But only one will take home the transit tiara!

 

Tickets are on sale now. $20 general admission, $15 for museum members. All proceeds benefit The City Reliquary and the Riders Alliance.

 

Press Coverage for Miss Subways 2017

Miss Subways 2017 received a ton of great media coverage. If you weren’t able to attend this event, definitely check out some of the links below. And be sure not to miss Miss Subways 2018!
Articles with excellent event photos:
Gothamist
Post-event articles:
Atlas Obscura
Pre-event articles:

Introducing the 2017 Miss Subways Contestants!

We put out the call, and a fabulous group of civic New Yorkers responded. Here are the contestants who will compete for the title of Miss Subways 2017 on September 28. Each brings something special, but only one will take home the transit tiara.

Tickets on sale now! All proceeds benefit Riders Alliance and The City Reliquary! More event details here.

Let’s meet the contenders…

Don’t miss out on this weird, wonderful, and very New York event in support of the subway system! Get those tickets!
Event details here.

Sept. 28: The 2017 Miss Subways Extravaganza

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Deadline extended to Sept. 14!!

We’re seeking Miss Subways 2017!

On Thursday, September 28 at 7 PM, The City Reliquary Museum will host The 2017 Miss Subways Extravaganza. You might remember that the Reliquary celebrated NYC’s most maligned line with its 2009 “Miss G Train” competition. How things have changed! The G is now one of the most reliable lines in the system. Clearly, something must be done.

With a wink and a nod to the Miss Subways pageants held in NYC between 1941 and 1976, this event is a call to arms for advocates and lovers of the NYC underground. In a night of performances spanning the classy, the trashy, the weird, and the whimsical, contestants will demonstrate their love for their subway line of choice to a panel of local celebrity judges.

The Museum of Interesting Things will join us with a table display of subway ephemera!

Tickets are on sale for $20-$60 ($17 for Reliquary members). Beverages available by suggested donation, with beer courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery.
All proceeds benefit The City Reliquary and the Riders Alliance.

Are YOU this year’s Miss Subways?

Can your talents inspire Governor Cuomo to action? We’re looking for contestants who believe they should be the ambassador for the subway in its time of crisis. Despite the potentially “miss”-leading title, we welcome contestants of all gender identities. The deadline to enter is Thursday, September 14th at 11:59 PM. 

TO ENTER: Send the following to [email protected]:
1) a short essay telling us why you want to be Miss Subways 2017, what your favorite subway line is, and why it inspires/enrages/enchants you;
2) 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!;
3) a photo. Feel free to send additional things, such as a song you’ve written, or a story of a memorable subway ride.

Our judges panel features CELEBRITIES & CIVIC HEROES! Including:

janeane-garofalo

Actress, comedian, and progressive activist Janeane Garofalo! Rising to fame in the ’90s with iconic appearances on The Ben Stiller Show and Reality Bites, she recently starred in the 90s throwback comedy, Wet Hot American Summer!

 

 

RJDowntown NYC art star and icon, Reverend Jen Miller! The Rev Jen was an early participating artist at Collective: Unconscious in the Lower East Side in the 1990s, where she began the Anti-Slam & Art Star movement. She’s been a muse for internationally renowned comedians and authors (the TV show “Bored to Death” featured a character based on her Elf Girl persona). She is the founder of the Mr. Lower East Side Pageant and of the Troll Museum, which tragically closed in 2016.
Roger-Clark 640x360NY1 reporter Roger Clark! As an intrepid NY1 morning reporter, Roger has surfed Rockaway Beach, learned the trapeze, kayaked the Hudson, and canoed the Gowanus Canal. He regularly covers community issues and highlights non-profits that help make NYC great. And he’s in a punk band! Roger’s band Perp Walk has played venues such as Bowery Electric, Hank’s Saloon, and The City Reliquary.

21994065_10213279746564399_7587461439172856378_oBaratunde R. Thurston, star of stage (acclaimed comedian, highly sought-after keynote speaker) and screens (producer, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah; fellow, MIT Media Lab, digital editor, The Onion, unusually astute talking head on political talk shows; prolific tweeter). He’s also the author of the New York Times bestseller, How to Be Black.

And the Winners of the 2009 Miss G Train are…

Miss G Train Elizabeth Kuchta
Miss G Train Elizabeth Kuchta

Shane Thor1st runner up Shane Thor

Marleah Martin2nd runner up Marleah Martin

Finalists

Sara BonisteelSara Bonisteel

Gina RosaGina Rosa

Kelly FoxKelly Fox

See video from the big night courtesy of BRIC TV!