Miss Manhattan

Left: Battleship Maine memorial by Attilio Piccirilli in Central Park. Right: Munson posing.

Miss Manhattan – You've probably never heard her name, but she's all over New York City. Audrey Munson, AKA Miss Manhattan was New York's first supermodel – a famous artist’s model of the Gilded Age and Beaux-Arts architecture.

"Night and Day" statues by Adolph Alexander Weinmanatop Penn Station's cornice.

"Night and Day" statues by Adolph Alexander Weinmanatop Penn Station's cornice.

Audrey's appearance and captivating poses enamored early-20th-century artists who used her as their model of choice for monuments, bridges, statues, and fountains. By 1915 she had become famous, with over half of the sculptures at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition (World's Fair) modeled after her. Audrey was used in Adolph Alexander Weinman’s gilded “Civic Fame” atop the Manhattan Municipal Building (1913) along with his “Day” and “Night” statues above the entrances of the original Pennsylvania Station (Night is now in the Brooklyn Museum's Sculpture Garden). She graced both sides of the Manhattan Bridge (now in front of the Brooklyn Museum), along with sculptures at Columbia University, the main branch of the New York Public Library, Grand Army Plaza, Central Park, the Brooklyn Museum, theaters, mansions, hotels and much much more. A tour of Beaux-Arts architecture in New York City will no doubt uncover Audrey's neoclassical figure cast in granite, marble, bronze, and copper. The model's Wikipedia page lists over a hundred Sculptures of Munson, many of which are in New York City.

Despite her early celebrity status, Munson's personal life was tragic and she died alone, buried in an unmarked grave in 1996 at the age of 104 after spending 65 years in an insane asylum.