In the end, a girl from Queens took the Miss G Train crown.
Elizabeth Kuchta, a 27-year-old television producer who lives in Astoria, won the first-ever pageant/tribute to the only Manhattan-eschewing subway line on Thursday night, beating out nine other contestants.
“It’s like rooting for the Mets when the Yankees keep going to the World Series,” said Dave Herman, the president of City Reliquary, which hosted the celebration of the “quintessential underdog” of the New York City Transit system. “You gotta stick with it. It’s our hometown subway line.”
The pageant was held in honor of the Williamsburg museum’s current retrospective of former “Miss Subways” between 1941 and 1976. Photographer Fiona Gardner is tracking down the pageant winners, mostly working class girls with big dreams, and photographing them where they live and work now.
Gardner was a judge at Thursday night’s Miss G Train pageant along with Ed Coffey, a track worker on the line; and Abbie Borod, a pageant coach.
The pageant was a tribute to one of the most-maligned, yet most-beloved, trains — relished (and damned) for a route that never enters Manhattan.
True to the G, the pageant started late, with one of the judges delayed and two contestants failing to even show up. Technical difficulties forced Kuchta to narrate the video she made for the talent portion, a presentation of her myriad skills as a G train rider (number seven was “patience,” a poignant virtue when it comes to the G).
She also won over the crowd with her G-inspired “ride of shame” costume: a party dress, flip flops, smeared mascara, high heels and a bottle of red Gatorade.
“The only thing worse than riding the G is riding the G in last night’s dress,” she said to cheers and laughter.
But the jest was affectionate. Marleah Martin, the second runner-up, sang a tune of her own writing, “It’s Not Easy Being G.” In her application essay, she wrote, “At the end of the day, I always accept — and love — the G.”
And like a twisted Miss America contestant, she told the judges that if she won the crown, she would “encourage people to embrace the charming eccentricities of the G, because we’re all in this together.”
The crowd went wild.
Another runner up, Thorgy, a drag queen who lives in Greenpoint, praised the train’s tardiness because it gives her time to read. Her idea to improve the train? Advertisements encouraging a literary way to pass the time: “Why not read?”
Contestants were certainly talented — some sang, one played violin, one did 20 push-ups, and another crafted a perfect gimlet, which she dubbed the “G Train Surprise.”
But they all had one thing in common: They all love the G train.
City Reliquary Museum [370 Metropolitan Ave. between Havemeyer Street and Marcy Avenue, (718) 782-4842].