The New York Transit Museum is opening a new exhibit on Tuesday, highlighting the women who won the Miss Subways contest, which ran from 1941 to 1976.
The exhibit was born from a collaboration between photographer Fiona Gardner and journalist Amy Zimmer.
Former winners of the contest said it changed their lives and was much more than a beauty contest.
"I remember running up and down the stairs telling everyone, 'I won! I won! I'm going to be Miss Subway,'” said Maureen Walsh Roaldsen, a former Miss Subways.
"I went to a premiere of 'Finian's Rainbow,' I met Fred Astaire, I even went to Nixon's inauguration representing New York," said Ellen Hart Sturm, another former Miss Subways.
"It's also about their hopes and their dreams, which as you sort of watch this contest over the decades, you see it changing,” said Gabrielle Shubert, the director of the New York Transit Museum.
"It actually is the first integrated beauty contest in America, which I think is a fairly significant thing and you know, has been a little bit of a forgotten piece of New York history,” said Gardner.
For more information, visit www.mta.info/museum.